Op-Ed: L.A.’s history of Latino-Black political conflict? It’s a curiously short tale of how a handful of Latino activists helped propel civil rights in California.
The first thing you notice about this place is the sky. This is one of the few areas of Los Angeles where you can look at the skyline and know that all the skyscrapers are Spanish-citizen-founded. The city is also one of the few where the vast majority is Latino, and most of them are proud of it. And what are the most beautiful things the earth has to offer? The mountains, orchards, desert, ocean, and, of course, all the skies.
Los Angeles has been a melting pot of immigrants, and Latinos have played a crucial role in building this diverse and inclusive city. When you speak about Los Angeles, you have to mention this history, not because Latinos are always celebrated, but because they are almost always the ones fighting and surviving in this place.
On its very birth, it was a dangerous place for minorities, with gang violence, police brutality, and a violent history of resisting colonization from the U.S. That was then.
The 1960s were a time when the LAPD began its reign in the Los Angeles Department of Public Safety and the LAPD did its part in helping build the city. But despite all that they did, in 1968, and again in 1974 in a scandal called “The Rampart Scandal,” and again in 2010 when they had to explain to voters that they weren’t responsible for any of the abuses they had been investigating, the LAPD would get a new boss, who gave the city a new identity.
In that same year, 1976, a new political movement was born – the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, or the RAMB in short. Their main goal was to build the community in which they could live and work, and the organization was built on the basis of principles of solidarity and mutual aid. In short, a communist and anti-racist organization. A movement against police brutality and capitalist exploitation. A movement to fight for full and equal citizenship rights, social justice and equal treatment.
When I say that this story is one of history, I mean a story of many people and their struggles, of struggles that were met with resistance and repression. When I say that it’s a story of struggle, I mean that there were