Hundreds of people joined Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas in marking the 25th anniversary of the 1992 Civil Unrest in Los Angeles with a teach-in and a candlelight vigil.
“We come together to stand in solidarity, not to simply remember the events of 1992 but also to reflect on lessons learned after 25 years of recovery, revitalization and resilience,” Board Chair Ridley-Thomas said.
At the teach-in, the Academy Award-winning filmmaker of “OJ: Made in America,” Ezra Edelman, looked back on the turmoil. “Reliving, discussing and absorbing our history is the only way to move forward,” he said.
Prof. Paul Ong, director of the UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge, unveiled a study entitled “1992 Revisited,” which tracked socioeconomic changes between the time of the civil unrest and the present. “Without the heroic efforts of community organizers and elected officials, conditions would be far worse; nonetheless, the unfortunate reality as evident in the empirical facts is that much more must be done to address the continued economic marginalization of South Los Angeles,” he said. “This will require a comprehensive, inclusive and coordinated effort, one that cuts across silos and institutional layers, and guided by a common vision anchored in a commitment to social justice.”
“We have come a long way in building local organizations to address issues of education, environmental justice, and other local issues,” Unite Here General Vice President Maria Elena Durazo said. “Unfortunately, the poverty level has grown in most of the communities that were impacted by the unrest. We have to fight for jobs that truly lift people out of poverty – and we have to give equal access to those good jobs to everyone in the community.”
US Rep. Karen Bass and CalState LA Director of Strategic Initiatives Peter Hong also spoke at the teach-in, hosted by KABC-7 anchor Marc Brown at the auditorium of the historic Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Building. Mayor Eric Garcetti also addressed participants.
Afterwards, teachin attendees and members of the community went across the street for a candlelight vigil. Each carried a flame that illuminated the corner of Western and Adams, where a gas station was razed during the civil unrest and which still remains a vacant lot.