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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
L.A. Riots: 20 Years Later

Community Coalition Hosts Rally to Remember Riots

Faith, labor and political leaders visit vacant lots on Machester and Vermont to consider how L.A. is still being rebuilt.

Hundreds of residents and dozens of faith, labor and political leaders attended a weekend of events held at a vacant lot at 81st and Vermont Avenue.  Attendees say the rally is intended to draw attention to "unfulfilled promises made to rebuild South L.A. in the aftermath of the riots."

"We're out here today because we want to really commemorate the civil unrest as something to think about to help us move forward," said Edgar Campos, a staff member at Community Coalition, the social justice organization sponsoring the event.  "We want to try to use this as a flashpoint to try to figure out what some of these issues were, what progress has been made adn what some of the current challenges really are."

The fair featured poetry readings, crafts for kids, live music and even free AIDS testing.  Organizers say they hope to get the community behind innovative initiatives to improve public safety in South L.A.

"We want to get the community excited about civic engagement and voting," Campos said. "It's 2012, it's an election year, we need to get people excited."

Many South L.A. residents attending the event said they remember the day the riots started.

"I was excited about the verdict and then it came back 'not guilty'," said Mollie Bell, an L.A. resident during the time of the riots. "And I, along with all my people just screamed. Almost like a tantrum, like a child."


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