Reflections on the Economic Bus Tour

On March 24th 2012, a group of community and faith leaders gathered at LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’s office in Exposition Park, for a bus tour of key areas which were impacted by the 1992 LA riots.

The tour began with a breakfast supplied by Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’s office, and attended by LA City Controller Wendy Greuel.

City Controller Greuel had the opportunity to address the crowd, as did KCCD founder and Ceo Ms. Hyepin Im.

Once introductions were out of the way, attendees were asked to stand up and introduce themselves, while giving a brief overview of their personal experiences with the period unrest and the aftermath.

This was a perfect opportunity for all attendees to understand each other’s backgrounds, and any shared experiences they might have. After we all became relatively more acquainted, we set off!

Now, a word on the locations selected for the tour:

The locations for the trip were largely selected on the basis of their significance to key moments in the riots.

In example, the bus stopped at Florence and Normandie. This is commonly referred to as the starting point for the riots, because it was here that the Reginald Denny incident took place.

However, not all locations were selected just for the role they played in the riots. Some were also selected for the developments which had taken place in the last two decades.

Both the bus stops at Leimart Park and the MaDang Courtyard reminded us that there were wonderful examples in the city of how the community recouped after the unrest, and created something amazing. Much like the mythical phoenix rising out of the flames, LA has arisen again in these areas.

At Leimart Park, we had the opportunity to listen to Joyce Perkins speak. She gave an eloquent talk detailing on watching the Leimart Park area burn, and how the sight moved her to tears. However, she was inspired to help the rebuilding process, and has helped create a successful community center which serves hundreds of community members.

At MaDang Courtyard, we were shown the development projects which have occurred in the region. One of the most interesting exchanges came during a visit to CGB, when the producer of the film Clash of Colors and other community members held an impromptu discussion on how to join different ethnic communities.

There was so much that everyone saw and experienced on the tour. But the general consensus seems to remain that while LA has both healed and done great things in the last two decades, there is still more which can be done. It’s up to each and every one of us, to help make sure this takes part.

We here at the SAIGU campaign are extremely humbled by everything we witnessed on Saturday, and look forward to the upcoming events for more community dialogue and reflection.