50 years after the Watts Riot, what has changed?


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It will be 50 years exactly tomorrow since the Watts riots happen; August 11, 1965. The riots lasted for six days and ruined the beautiful community of Watts! In the predominantly black Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, racial tensions reached a breaking point after two white policemen beat a black motorist suspected of drunken driving. A crowd of spectators gathered near the corner of Avalon Boulevard and 116th Street to watch the arrest and soon grew angry by what they believed to be yet another incident of racially motivated abuse by the police. A riot soon began, spurred on by residents of Watts who were embittered after years of economic and political isolation. The rioters eventually ranged over a 50-square-mile area of South Central Los Angeles, looting stores, torching buildings, and beating whites as snipers fired at police and firefighters. Assistance of thousands of National Guardsmen, order was restored on August 16.

34 people ended up dead, over 1,000 people injured, 4,000 arrested, and over $40 million dollars in damage. Today, Watts is still predominantly poor but the demographics have shifted to more than 70 percent Latinos, many African-Americans moved to the suburbs in the Inland Empire or the Desert north of Los Angeles. Many African-American residents talk of feeling pushed out while Latinos are looking for their voice and building political power. The tensions are building between the two groups which makes no sense to me! I grew up with African-American, and Latino friends and was welcomed by their families. I don’t know what has changed except everyone fighting for power! It’s okay to share the power and have both representations in government! There s a truth in standing together builds power! The poor communities have African-American and Latino majority so why fight each other? At the end of the day we are tearing down our communities! There is enough room for both cultures and I think it’s critical to learn about each other! Sure we have different languages but we have a lot of similarities; both struggle everyday to be accepted, always looking to improve our children lives, family is important for the both of us, we love food, music, and big gatherings (Lol), and believe in God a lot! There is a beauty between the two cultures and we aren’t looking really smart fighting and killing each other especially since minorities are going to exceed Caucasians by 2020! We better stop all this hate and really try to come together as a community!

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