Black Lives Matter

| July 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

ORIGINAL FARMERS MARKET at 3rd and Fairfax prior to graffiti removal the afternoon of May 31.

This special section has been added this month to provide a forum for sharing ideas and opinions on the important issues raised by Black Lives Matter discussions and demonstrations. That was not possible last month; the paper already was at the printer as events transpired. This month, we can include stories about immediate neighborhood reactions, including families helping merchants clean up after looting, and contemporary neighborhood associations commenting upon the protests. We include a bit of related local history, too: A reprint of the single Larchmont Chronicle story published the month following the April 1992 riots and looting in Los Angeles.

Mayor Eric Garcetti

The peaceful protests and violent crime of May 30-31, 2020 generated comment across the city from hundreds of prominent Angelenos, including local residents and businesspeople. Current neighborhood association leaders are interviewed in the story on Page 8C. The June 2 televised speech of Mayor and Windsor Square resident Eric Garcetti, accompanied by the remarks of his guest, 16-year-old high school student Davion Pilgrim, begin on Page 8G.

Nancy Silverton

Windsor Square residents and Hancock Park restaurateurs Nancy Silverton and Michael Krikorian presented an Op-Ed piece in the “Los Angeles Times” on June 4. Proprietor of The Grove, Rick Caruso, published a lengthy letter to the Los Angeles community in several newspapers in the middle of last month. Los Angeles chapter president of the National Urban League, and Fremont Place resident, Michael Lawson, spoke about racism, police brutality and criminal justice reform as part of a June 18 Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall video panel discussion.

Michael Lawson

Within this special section, we include commentary from others, including four letters received in response to the Chronicle’s short, four-inch, “for the record” box added on Page 1 of last month’s issue, all beginning on this page. One longer letter has become a guest column by Larchmont neighbor Bethel S. Moges. It appears on Page 8D. Another guest column is by civil rights leader Connie Rice, on page 8G. The monthly column of Councilman David Ryu focuses on Black Lives Matter and related issues and appears on Page 8E.

Rick Caruso

Hundreds of thousands of concerned (peaceful) people have marched all over this town (and across the country), seeking to highlight the problem of systemic racism that leads to crime, including the killing of George Floyd, and other unacceptable aspects of 21st-century North America (and the whole planet, frankly).

Those who have stood up to be antiracist are to be commended.

“Antiracist” — what does that mean? The National Museum of African American History and Culture, a part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., writes: “To create an equal society, we must commit to making unbiased choices and being antiracist in all aspects of our lives.”

A helpful, detailed discussion about race is at the museum’s website:

Fighting against racism is to be antiracist. Racism impacts Black Americans now, as it has impacted Black Americans for centuries. A step toward becoming antiracist is simply to understand and remember that Black Lives Matter.

Prosecute criminals

We at the Larchmont Chronicle believe that most people support peaceful protest marches. We also believe that most people are opposed to violent mobs rioting.

The violent activities that took place locally on May 30 and 31 — on Larchmont and in nearby locations — definitely were riots (“violent disturbances of the peace by a crowd”). The not-peaceful groups of people who were smashing windows, breaking into stores, stealing property, and setting fires definitely were mobs (“large crowds of people, especially ones that are disorderly and intent on causing trouble or violence”).

The two groups (a majority of peaceful protesters and a minority of criminal rioters) absolutely should not be lumped together (although the rioters clearly took advantage of the peaceful protesters and their marches).

Individuals exercising their Constitutional rights by protesting in a peaceful march are different from violent individuals in a rioting mob. The two should be treated differently in a civil and peaceful society. Protestors and victims need to be protected from those who break the peace.

The killing of George Floyd is a serious crime that is being prosecuted. So should be all murders, arsons, assaults, burglaries and vandalism. All crimes matter, and all crime should be prosecuted. If something is not appropriate to prosecute, legislators should no longer make that act a crime.

Peaceful marchers are not criminals and should not be treated as criminals.

Mobs of violent individuals who riot are criminals and should be prosecuted.

We hope that public officials will do both — protect and prosecute.

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