Reginald Denny and his attacker
"I think their parents were probably afraid of their watching any more television, and sent them out so they could play."
By the morning of May 1st, the National Guard units had reached the size of 4,000, moving throughout the city in Humvees. Rodney King appeared on television, asking his simple, but profound question that would haunt the city for years: "People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?"
Can we all get along? Some weeks it appears that we have wonderfully achieved that goal, but at other times it seems we still have a long ways to go. But the answer is "yes," if only we seriously try.
Los Angeles, April 29, 2009
Describing this planned essay to my dear friend, poet Will Alexander, he noted that he experienced both the Watts Riot and the Rodney King Riot at "ground zero," and suggested the he also planned to write about his experiences. I strongly encouraged him to do so. We need a large number of recountings of those events, I argued, if we are to release ourselves from the hateful past these events represent and remind ourselves of the changes still necessary to bring this vast, disparate community of Los Angeles into a caring and shared future.
Los Angeles, April 20, 2009