Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Angels of Los Angeles

IV.    Vows of Voluntary Sacrifice
We freely offer up our appetites, wealth, and pride to relieve the suffering of the world, for the sake of our neighbors and God’s joy.

  1. I will accept with grace any suffering for myself resulting from my affirmations, rejections and witness; I will do all in my power to reduce the suffering in the world, including the suffering of victims and my adversaries in confrontation.
Reginald Denny and the LA Four
*Watching the live TV newscast in their homes, Titus Murphy and Terri Barnett, Lei Yuille, and Bobby Green saw the rock-wielding rioters rip the semi-truck driver from his cab. One man held the driver’s head to the ground with his foot while the others kicked at his body and hit him with a hammer and chunks of concrete. Reginald Denny was knocked unconscious by the blows to the head and one of the attackers pranced victoriously over Denny, flashing gang signs at the news copter.

Twenty years ago on the 29th of April 1992, South Central and Southeast Los Angeles exploded in six-day riots killing 53 people and wounding thousands in wide spread violence and murder. The looting and arson cost nearly one billion dollars and destroyed over a thousand buildings. Long simmering anger over inequitable poverty, segregation, lack of educational and employment opportunities, police abuse, interracial violence  and unequal  services ignited into open rage in the poorest sections of L.A. the day the court acquitted four of black Rodney King’s white and Hispanic police assailants.

It was into this South Central inferno that Reginald Denny, a white truck driver, unwittingly drove. Seeing his brutalization by black youth on the live helicopter news feed, four separate African-American strangers sprang from their couches several miles away in the neighborhood to rush to Denny’s aid out at the intersection of Florence and Normandie.