Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 46

For the 46th column, I’d like to lend attention to another blog in the city of Los Angeles, Slauson Girl: World News with a South Central State of Mind, whose voice is particularly resonant during this time.

Over 28 years since four LAPD officers were acquitted despite fracturing a man’s skull, breaking his bones and teeth, and leaving him with permanent brain damage in a traffic stop of nightmares, leading residents to take to L.A.’s streets in outrage, it gives me chills to consider how if it weren’t for nine minutes of video, the assault “would otherwise have been a violent, but soon forgotten, encounter between Los Angeles police and Rodney King.”

Today the ability to consume video and photography is all around us and seemingly infinite. But in 1992, footage of King’s powerlessness, considered by many to be “the first viral video” of the modern era, was an anomalous union of technology and the will to use technology to inform the public of a flagrant abuse of power. The video would change the world, even if only for a moment, since many of Los Angeles’s institutions, including the LAPD, would continue using racist policies against communities of color, which is still the case today.

But this is why today’s voices “on the front lines” are as important as they were 28 years ago. Slauson Girl, who is a native of the historic South Central Los Angeles, is pursuing justice for this segment of Los Angeles as a community-based reporter and commentator. At her website and podcast, she discusses not only lessons from Rodney King, but also the ongoing displacement of Black culture in L.A. development projects, which continue favoring wealthier wallets over the essential Black workers whose time and labor create that wealth, as well as over Black businesses during the time of Coronavirus, the passing of Nipsey Hussle, and more.

It’s imperative for J.T. the L.A. Storyteller to uplift more voices in Los Angeles such as Slauson Girl’s, and so readers are encouraged to head on over to SG’s site to learn more about this historic part of Our City.

J.T.

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