What’s going on in Ferguson, Missouri? A reflection from a second generation LA gang member, Kevin “Salt Rocc” LewisForty Nine years ago on Thursday, August 11, 1965 Watts, Los Angeles, California, experienced a riot that was racially-fueled by police misconduct, poverty, and hate. As a result, this riot led to 34 deaths, 1,032 injuries, 3,438 arrests, and over $40 million in property damage. It was the most severe riot in Los Angeles history until the Los Angeles riots of 1992 which resulted in 53 deaths, and or about one thousand injuries, and over 11, 000 people were arrested.
Now in 2014, in a racially divided city of Ferguson, Missouri, we as a nation once again are experiencing the pain of brutal police misconduct, discrimination, and hate. Many citizens may be saying not again? While others are struggling with the fact that this practice of betrayal and misconduct at the hands of United States law enforcement will continue to be the rule of thumb for many police departments across America.
In Kevin Lewis’ book, “Born and Raised in the Streets of Compton,” revisit the Watts riots in the first chapter available to read online without charge. This chapter expresses the same feelings and happenings that the citizens of Ferguson, Missouri, are not only now experiencing, but witnessing. The looting, the injuries, and the arrest are a cry that racial injustices are “not” dead but very much alive. Hopefully we as a nation can fix this problem, if not, we’ll continue to see U.S. cities become melting pots of hatred, violence, and social unrest.