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 Black and Latino residents of South Central Los Angeles and elsewhere in L.A. expressed outrage over a predominantly white jury’s acquittal of four LAPD officers after the officers viciously fractured King’s skull, broke the man’s bones and teeth, and left him with permanent brain damage, it gives me chills to think that 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 well into the days following.
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 her community 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 workers whose time and labor create that wealth, as well as on Black businesses during the time of Coronavirus, the passing of Nipsey Hussle, and more.
It is imperative for The L.A. Storyteller to uplift more voices in Los Angeles such as Slauson Girl’s, and so readers (and listeners) should stay tuned, as there will be more from this highlight soon.
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