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20th Anniversary - 1992 Rodney King Verdict & The Uprising

by Kim (writer), Los Angeles, April 25, 2012

Credit: Kim Vinson
Intersection of Jefferson and Hoover in heart of Los Angeles. Schools in this area shut down in the wake of the 1992 uprising

Los Angeles yet divided: continuing the struggle beyond tolerance and injustice towards acceptance, equality and peace

"Not Guilty..." The verdict rang through the air like a horrible dream that afternoon of April 29, 1992. A huge hush fell across the city racially, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually hurting and on the edge of heart failure.

"Not Guilty". Four faces sighed. The rest of us cried. As the afternoon wore on many died in an eruption galvanized not by this salient event but the response a series of actions, measures, and injustices. The Rodney King verdicts were a culmination.

In some respects, Los Angeles had not known such unrest since the Watts Riots of the summer of 1965.

The words, "Not Guilty" ignited the flame. Or, could it be years of no voice, no response, no visible concern, and no sense of real community. "Not Guilty" No Guilt? No harm inflicted with brute force on a human handcuffed and on the ground? Honestly? The outcry to this was expressed in many ways that was unfortunately detrimental. Yet, in the aftermath, voices were heard:faces were seen that previously had felt as a non existence.

It is true and should be noted that confiscating televisions, computers, radios, CD players, other electronics too numerous to name, food, clothes, and more have nothing to do with "Not Guilty". Even this is a reflection of a community without community

Sadly, opportunists and game players are always among us. This is across the board regardless of race, gender, age, religion, or culture.

Transcending this, the human and material lost was beyond agonizing and horrific at the end April of 1992.

Moving ahead, 20 years later we yet struggle to come to grips with community, law enforcement, economy, basic human needs for food, shelter, water, love, self-worth, growth, hope, and a fulfilling future.

On the surface, buildings have been replaced with strip malls or vacant lots as a reminder. Hearts and souls are still mending. Relationships are slowly forming and reforming. This is a holistic and all consuming effort that takes everyone within the community from the Mayor of Los Angeles and his office to those who are the most dispossessed and all in between there. We all have to daily take steps to rebuild ourselves and each other. We do this, by simply by using our innate gifts and willingness to be open to change.

There's got be a revolution of kindled within us, and taken to the streets, to the officials, the powers that be and beyond. At the same time an awakening and revolution must start inside those in so called "charge".

20 years later we are fighting some of same injustices because the root of the different challenges we face are not being addressed candidly with a resolve to change. Racism needs addressing as does poverty along with that respect for one another in community and acknowledgement across generations, genders, races, religions, social economics, cultures, and traditions, and all else within the community.

20 years later we have to keep coming together and we can never stop until we reach the goal. I personally feel this can only be accomplished through a daily consciousness and cognizant of ourselves and each other and then coming together to inspire ideas and dreams that can become plans and eventually reality.

We've a long road yet to go. 20 years later.



About the Writer

Kim is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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6 comments on 20th Anniversary - 1992 Rodney King Verdict & The Uprising

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By Patricia Adams on April 25, 2012 at 06:32 pm

Yes, Kim, we still have a long way to go....and a lot to learn about our fellow humans. Thanks for reminding us.

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By Barbara MacDonald on April 28, 2012 at 11:58 am

Very hard to believe it has been 20 years since this...Yes Kim, we have come a long ways but definitely still have a long ways to go...I am still a citizen of the USA, but have now lived in Canada many years...and do find there is less prejudice here in my opinion...but having many friends from the West Indies and being the treasurer of a local domino club for years I heard so many incidences that happened to many of my friends...one in particular I am remembering was a friend of mine from Jamaica who also was a Rasta...he was banned from a local mall just for the fact he was a Rasta and the prejudice that brought in labeling him...Unfortunately," ignorance" is still alive and living in the hearts of too many...I pray my grandkids will live in a "better" world...great article Kim, thank you.

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By Kim on May 04, 2012 at 01:51 pm

Thank you Patricia. Yes, we DO have a long way to go, however we have made tremendous strides. We have acknowledge all people as human beings regardless of our exterior, cultural, socio-economic, gender, religious,and many other differences.

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By Kim on May 04, 2012 at 02:02 pm

Thank you Barbara! It is hard to believe its been that long. Where in Canada do you live? on the Northwest side or Northeast? I very much like Canada. I've only been to the Northeast area- Nova Scotia. Quite different than the U.S.

Ignorance does play a huge part in people's thoughts and opinions. Perhaps personal experiences or incidents as well. Unfortunately, the media here in the U.S. thrives on sensationalism and theatrics rather than real facts. To a large degree..the media ignites issues. The Rodney King Verdicts and the Aftermath of what occurred is now remembered as "The L.A. Riots" with no thought or conscious consideration to all the many complex facts that lead to that...But, as you say, hopefully the next generation will live in a better world and hopefully will continue to see positive change and move past just tolerance...to sincere acceptance and effort to understand one another while keeping our cultural and unique individual differences and respecting others. As Curtis Mayfield said, "Keep on Pushing" andhe meant forward in unity towards what's right; and not pushing and trampling others down with injustice because you consider yourself superior. Thanks for your comments!

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By Kim on May 04, 2012 at 02:14 pm

Patricia, ps. Thanks for your comments! I meant to also agree that we do have a lot to learn. I think this means re-evaluating what we already embrace and think of others. We're more alike than different yet we're all uniquely different and as you mention must keep learning about each other...so going past barriers that separate. Just have to keep at it.

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By Barbara MacDonald on May 06, 2012 at 11:53 am

Your welcome Kim...nice to meet you...I am in Hamilton, Ontario, "Steel City", its is around 45 minutes south of Toronto, if that helps at all...I do so totally agree with your thoughts Kim...it is NOT just tolerance we need...it is recognizing that we are all human beings and the commonality we share and should embrace and learn from each other..."we are more alike than different"...amen...

Love the Curtis Mayfield song...it also brings to mind a Bob Marley song which I also love...ONE LOVE...

I look forward to reading more from you Kim...thank you again.

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