Man, there has been so much terrific journalism published and aired and posted around the twentieth anniversary of the 1992 riots. I hoped to gather a curated selection in one place, but the task has become too big. So it's going to be more piecemeal here, starting with the awesome week that Which Way, LA has been having on KCRW. It's fitting, of course, since Warren Olney's nightly program grew out of the riots. It's one of the actually tangible legacies of the riots. Ruth Seymour, the station general manager who created the show, is retired now but sent in some thoughts.
"Which Way, L.A.?" was created just a month after the riots out of the need to speak to an audience that was traumatized and frightened. It began as a way to report the latest developments and to allow listeners to hear from both their neighbors and others in diverse communities in the city....
It was a safe and even comforting place to turn to as people searched for ways to go forward. Led from the beginning by Warren Olney, the program remains a trusted source for discussion and debate about the problems and concerns of Southern Californians. The program has now served a generation of KCRW listeners. That surely is more than a success; it's a triumph.
Today's show will include a look back with writers Erin Aubry Kaplan and Ruben Martinez, City Hall official BongHwan Kim and political scientist Raphe Sonnenshein, and clips from Olney's interview with Rodney King. The station website has a splash page gathering what they have been doing, and re-posting audio from 1992. Here's some of who Warren and the WWLA team have put on this week:
Anna Deavere Smith, playwright
John Singleton, director
Gary Phillips, writer
Joe Domanick, author of "To Protect and To Serve: The LAPD's Century of War in the City of Dreams."
Richard Riordan, elected mayor after the riots
Kerman Maddox, a board member at First AME Church.
Connie Rice, co-director of the Advancement Project in Los Angeles.
Tim Rutten, former columnist at the :A Times
Skip Townsend, a former gang member who now 2nd Call, a gang intervention organization.
Hector Verdugo, associate executive director at Homeboy Industries