Riots20 - History, voices, lessons of the Rodney King Riots - Off-Ramp for April 28, 2012

Riots imprinted on a 6-year-old girl, KPCC producer Bianca Ramirez

KPCC producer Bianca Ramirez was 6 when the riots broke out here at Florence and Normandie. Today, she lives just a couple blocks away.

KPCC producer Bianca Ramirez at a Florence and Normandie landmark.

Just a few blocks from Florence and Normandie...

Signs on Tom's Liquor Store at Florence and Normandie.

"It's home," KPCC producer Bianca Ramirez says when friends ask her why she doesn't move out of the old neighborhood.

One of the things you have to remember when you cover a story like the LA Riots is that 95% of the people in even the worst neighborhoods didn't riot, didn't loot, didn't do anything but keep their heads down.

Bianca Ramirez, one of KPCC's producers, was 6 when the riots broke out at Florence and Normandie, just a couple miles from her house, and they quickly spread to her neighborhood. She remembers coming home from school on April 29, 1992, and watching Reginald Denny being savagely beaten. She remembers the gunshots, the sirens, the helicopters, and the smell of smoke. She remembers her father riding his bicycle five miles to Huntington Park just to get groceries for the family.

She remembers that one set of neighbors were "gangsters," and that they looted the neighborhood furniture store and got themselves a brand new livingroom. Other neighbors were African-Americans who huddled together with her Mexican-American family to wait out the chaos and violence.

The riots are a significant part of her growing up. So why does she live today just a couple blocks from Florence and Normandie? "It's home," Bianca says.

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