April 29, 1992 marked a very sad day in American History; it was the day that a jury acquitted four police officers of the brutal beating of Rodney King. The beating was caught on tape and all of America got to see first hand how the LAPD, as most police departments around the country, target black men. The acquittal sparked race riots from the West Coast to the East Coast. I was working on Carol Moseley Braun’s campaign in Chicago at the time and my hopes of eradicating racism plummeted.
I know there will be those that read this article and respond with: “but he was a criminal,” rather than asking what type of environment did King live in and how black men are disproportionately policed and incarcerated. Asking those questions would mean having to really look at the issue of Racism–-an issue we don’t want to address as a nation.
Now 20 years after the acquittal King has died at the very young age of 47. I fear we have so far to go in addressing issues of race, gender, power, privilege, and all of the intersections of oppression. When do we as a country become united and stand up against racism, homophobia, and misogyny?