Remembering the past will only strengthen our future: L.A. takes pause after 20 years

150 150 Cheryl Getuiza

Rodney King famously asks if we could all just get along (Photo credit: Los Angeles Times)

For some, it’s hard to believe 20 years have come and gone. It’s been 20 years since one of the worst urban riots in U.S. history. It’s been 20 years since most of the city went up in flames. It’s been 20 years since tensions between several ethnic groups were at an all-time high. For Angelenos, April 29, 1992 was a dark day.

“It was a painful moment that the city was divided on race, class, ethnicity, language, immigration status,” said Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles.

Hundreds of people gathered at the Glory Church of Jesus Christ to remember that fateful day. The event, hosted by the Korean Churches for Community Development and sponsored by California Forward, was an opportunity for various communities to show their unity and prove that L.A. has taken several big steps down the path to recovery.

“It was a tragic day, but we thought that for the twentieth anniversary, let’s create an opportunity to transform that meaning, that day,” said Hyepin Im, President of the Korean Churches for Community Development.

Many agree communities have bridged that gap and are communicating in order to avoid any more misunderstandings.

“Both communities were hurting, both communities were feeling that nobody was protecting us and now here we are 20 years later, I think our communities are much closer, I think the understanding is much deeper. We have to do something about the economic pain so it doesn’t happen again in some other form,” said Van Jones, President of Rebuild the Dream.

Although a lot of work has been done in the last 20 years, many believe the journey must continue.

“Really we are one race there’s no such thing as Asian race, or African race or latino race or indigenous race, Caucasian race, there’s only one race and that’s the human race,” said Edward James Olmos, actor and activist.  “We really have to come to terms with that or else we’re not gonna get too far.”

The mayor agreed, “what’s beautiful about L.A., we’re proud of our diversity we feel good about the fact that we come from every part of the earth we’ve just got to remind ourselves it’s important to reach out to a stranger to do more for people who have been left behind… to make the investment so that every community has the same access to opportunity.”

Elected leaders and communities working together will help L.A. move forward.


Cheryl Getuiza

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