From the July-August 2012 issue of News & Letters:
Commemorating the Los Angeles Rebellion
Los Angeles, Calif.—On April 28, people from the Black community, some from Occupy LA, and others gathered at the 71st and Normandie Ave. block party on the 20th anniversary of the 1992 LA Rebellion.
The event was moderated by Mollie Ball—long-time community activist and part of the LA-4-Plus Defense Committee. That committee was formed to support the five Black youths who were at Florence and Normandie where Reginald Denny was beaten after the four police who brutally beat Rodney King were found not guilty.
Many Black youth from the neighborhood engaged in conversations. Also attending were women from Cease Fire Committee, a gang interventionist group, and Project Cry No More, a women’s organization supporting families of victims killed by police or gang members. Keith Watson, one of the LA-4-Plus-ers, acknowledged other LA-4-Plus members, including Damien Williams, who is still in prison.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters said the LA Rebellion influenced her. She has never lost connections with the very poor of the Black community.
Three young Black women who live on the block learned of the May Day march from people of Occupy LA. They joined a leg of the march at Florence and Normandie, which caravanned through Central Ave. in South Central LA to downtown and united with the immigrant rights march.
There were other events for the commemoration of the 1992 Rebellion. One was held at the first AME Church, another by the Youth Justice Coalition, and on April 29 there was an open mike, poetry and music at Florence and Normandie.
On April 28, the LA Black Workers Center held a town hall meeting at the Watts Labor Community Action Center in remembrance of 1992 “to acknowledge the reality of lack of employment and opportunities, and the pain workers face in Los Angeles.”
Twenty years after the Rebellion, the poverty and unemployment—especially among Black and Brown youth—have not improved. It has been this way since the U.S. Civil War ended 147 years ago. We want to fundamentally change the alienated human relations formed by the capitalist economic system into a new human society for all. The many ideas of Marxist- Humanism, theories and philosophies of freedom, are just as important as organizing practice and more practice.