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Seeing L.A. tear itself apart made Michelle realize the city was home




People and their belongings line a sidewalk across from a burned out apartment in Los Angeles. The apartment was attached to a row of stores that were burned and looted, 30 April 1992. 
People and their belongings line a sidewalk across from a burned out apartment in Los Angeles. The apartment was attached to a row of stores that were burned and looted, 30 April 1992. 
AFP / Stringer

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NO PLACE LIKE L.A. IS OUR SERIES THAT ASKS L.A. TRANSPLANTS AND IMMIGRANTS: "WHEN WAS THE MOMENT YOU FELT THAT LOS ANGELES WAS TRULY HOME?"

THIS IS THE STORY OF Michelle Kemmer in Woodland Hills WHO'S ORIGINALLY FROM Minnesota.

I moved [here] in 1987 to go to school, but the primary reason was to escape winter and just kind of going along like you do when you're young – trying to figure out what you're doing with your life.

But then in 1992, the L.A. riots happened.

I had been at work. I knew there was something going on.

But I didn't really quite know. I was poor at the time, so I just had a teeny television that was barely black-and-white. It was mostly static, kind of trying to watch this to figure out what was going on.

I thought, you know, I'm going to drive up to Mulholland. There's a nice view of the city from up there and kind of see what's going on.

There was a whole crowd of people up there just watching the city burn.

And I just felt so sad. I get choked up now even talking about it so many years later.

I grew up in Minnesota, but I never felt like home.

Los Angeles didn't really feel like home until the L.A. riots.

That was kind of when I realized that this is my city, that I was actually a part of it, a part of something, a part of a community.

What are we doing to each other?

TELL US YOUR STORY, TOO. IF YOU'RE A TRANSPLANT OR IMMIGRANT, WHEN WAS THE MOMENT YOU THOUGHT TO YOURSELF, "L.A. FEELS LIKE HOME, NOW?"