Fifteen year-old Latasha Harlins died on March 16, 1991 at the hands of Empire Liquor store owner Soon Ja Du, just 13 days after the videotaped beating of Rodney King. Harlins had gone to the store to buy juice and was putting it in her backpack when Du, thinking the girl would steal, grabbed her by the sweater. Harlins proceeded to punch Du, knocking her to the ground. After Du got up and threw a stool at her, Harlins put the orange juice on the counter and proceeded to leave the store. Du grabbed her handgun and shot Harlins in the back of the head, killing her instantly. Du, claiming self-defense was eventually fined $500 and sentenced to probation and community service. The paltry sentence struck a nerve in Los Angeles’ African American community and was one of the catalysts to the 1992 civil unrest.

Mar. 16

In 1991, Latasha Harlins, a 15-year-old African American girl, was shot in the head by a Korean clerk at a convenience store—a death that occurred just thirteen days before the beating of Rodney King by the LAPD. More than twenty-five years later, the fate of black girls’ lives remains largely ignored. Join us for a roundtable discussion exploring the role and importance of girls such as Latasha in the black community and beyond, with Brenda Stevenson, professor of history, UCLA; Funmilola Fagbamila, professor, activist, and an original member of Black Lives Matter (BLM); Shamell Bell, UCLA doctoral candidate and an original member of BLM; Tia Oso, national organizer, Black Alliance for Just Immigration; Denise Harlins, Latasha’s aunt; and Britni Danielle, Ebony Magazine.