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No Justice, No Peace: L.A. Uprising in Photos

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After nearly thirty years of struggle and continued efforts to be more inclusive and diverse, the country is once again in the throes of unrest, clamoring for real change. As the nation strives for answers and ways forward in the wake of George Floyd’s death, it is helpful to look back. How did we get here? How can we help make lasting changes? Read on to learn more.

The 1992 L.A. uprising, in response to structural inequities in South Los Angeles, is more than an episode of urban unrest, but a story of Los Angeles and its people wrestling with racial and economic injustices. On April 29, 1992, the acquittal of the four officers who were videotaped beating Rodney King, set off violent rage infamously erupting at the intersection of Florence and Normandie, but black and brown Angelenos were crying out against a criminal justice system and the LAPD that had failed them time and time again. Weeks before the Rodney King beating, Latasha Harlins, a young African American girl was shot by a Korean store owner who was later left off with a light sentence and decades earlier, the death of Euila May Love, an African American woman, shot by the LAPD over a $22.09 unpaid gas bill were painful reminders of pervasive injustice.

As the city was set ablaze, journalists covered the scene, relating the events as they unfolded. Since then, stories unheard have emerged providing us more insight into the multi-layered uprising, complicating mainstream media representations at the time. In remembering the 25th anniversary of the uprising, we look back at those infamous photos that begs the question, what has changed in South L.A.?  What changes need to be made the next 25 years?
 

L.A. Riots - Rodney King
Rodney King pleads to the rioters to make peace May 1, 1992 in Los Angeles, CA. As a result of the riots more than 50 died, over 4,000 injured and $1 billion in property damage. | Douglas Burrows/Liaison
L.A. Riots - Trial
Los Angeles Police Department officers Ted Briseno (2nd L) and Laurence Powell (R) are escorted by Ventura County Deputy Sheriff and Powell's father (2nd R) through media room after they were acquitted of all charges except for one against Lawrence Powell. The 1992 Los Angeles riots, with looting and arson events, erupted April 29, 1992 when a mostly white jury acquitted the four police officers accused in the videotaped beating of black motorist Rodney King, after he fled from police. 52 people were killed during the riots and Rodney King became a reluctant symbol of police brutality. | HAL GARB/AFP/Getty Images
L.A. Riots - Verdict Reaction
Police officer uses his baton on a protester at the corner of First St. and Broadway (downtown) on April 29, 1992 in Los Angeles, California. | Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
L.A. Riots - Protest
Residents of the West Adams (Western Ave. and Adams Blvd.) district protest the verdict. | Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
L.A. Riots
"The second day of the Riots on 3rd street I photographed this guy running past a burning Jon's market with a shopping cart full of diapers. I affectionately call this image 'A Huggies Run'."  | Kirk Mckoy/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
L.A. Riots - Aerial
A billowing of smoke fills the air as stores burn to the ground May 1, 1992. | Douglas Burrows/Liaison
L.A. Riots
National Guardsmen and a police officer take up security positions in front of a burned and looted shopping center, May 1, 1992 in central Los Angeles.  | HAL GARB/AFP/Getty Images
L.A. Riots
South Central Los Angeles  | Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images
L.A. Riots
A man and two children walk past a burned out storefront after the 1992 Los Angeles riots. | David Butow/Corbis via Getty Images
L.A. Riots
Tom Sedry and Arturo Pallacios were among those helping to clean up a building shared by a discount store and the Exposition Park Church of the Nazarene on the corner of Vermont and 27th during the riots. Many were members of the congregation, but many others simply wanted to help. | Tony Barnard/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

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