How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

What is the legacy of the 1992 L.A. riots?

AFP/Getty Images


This April 29 marks the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, which began after a jury acquitted four L.A. police officers accused of beating Rodney King, a black motorist who was pulled over after a pursuit. Over the next few days, parts of Los Angeles burned in arson fires as Angelenos rioted and businesses were looted. Fifty-three people died in the violence, thousands were injured, and property damage mounted close to $1 billion.

Twenty years later, the riots remain a pivotal point in L.A. history. The Korean American journalist K.W. Lee wrote in 2002 on the ten-year anniversary of the upheaval that it was "America’s first multiethnic urban unrest, signaling a radical departure from the historical white-black paradigm. It exposed the widening ethnic, class and cultural chasms between the inner-city poor and the suburban middle class, immigrants and natives, English speaking and non-English speaking."

How do we understand the role of race in the riots, and how it plays into the way we remember and talk about the riots twenty years later? KPCC senior news editor Cheryl Devall will lead a public discussion on the legacy of the riots tomorrow night at the station's Crawford Family Forum in Pasadena. She'll be joined by Fernando Guerra, director of Loyola Marymount University’s Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles, who will share the results of the center's recent LA Riots 20 Year Anniversary Resident Survey.

Admission is free but an RSVP is required; seats can be reserved here.

blog comments powered by Disqus