"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.
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 using our innate gifts and by being 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.
I'm sure Mr. Rodney King who first suffered long before the verdict outcomes on that lonely highway on a late night in March of 1991 would agree.
We've a long road yet to go. 20 years later.