The Unrelenting Fight For Black Lives 25 Years After The LA Riots

The Unrelenting Fight For Black Lives 25 Years After The LA Riots

Alicia Garza was just 11 years old when riots erupted in the streets of Los Angeles 25 years ago ― but her memories of the events that unfolded are vivid.

Garza, who is one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter, was born and raised in the Bay Area and currently lives in Oakland, California. She credits the rebellion as one of the reasons why she has since committed her life’s work to the fight for justice for black Americans.

She remembers the video that captured four police officers violently beating Rodney King, a black man who was pulled over after a high-speed chase; the trial and the ultimate acquittal of all officers involved that prompted immediate outrage; the videos that showed L.A. in flames, stores set on fire and “shit hitting the fan”; the tensions between the city’s communities of color following the killing of Latasha Harlins, a black teen who was fatally shot by a Korean store owner just months before the riot; the images both of people helping each other and pushing back against the police; and, most distinctly, she remembers how black protesters were demonized for the anger they expressed in the aftermath of such a gross act of racial injustice.

“I remember all of the stories,” she told HuffPost in an interview this week. “I remember this went on for days; it changed the course of history.”

Saturday marks 25 years since one of the most profound and violent acts of protest in modern American history, which involved days of rebellion largely led by L.A.’s black residents. Fights broke out, buildings were burned, more than 50 people were killed, over 2,000 were injured and the city suffered $1 billion in property damages. The overarching narrative of the unrest is complex, with some people who say it was useless and destructive, while others believe the demonstration was to be expected considering the oppressive conditions black people lived under. 

Decades later, the conditions have not changed much: Police brutality against black Americans is rampant, and the relationship between cops and communities of color requires much more work. Cameras and social media have helped to rapidly amplify news of the police killings of black men and women and revolutionize the ways in which residents respond ― much of which is a result of efforts by Garza, along with Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, who collectively birthed the Black Lives Matter movement.

“[Let’s] figure out together how to … build a strategy that helps us get us from where we are to where we deserve to be.”
Alicia Garza

As someone who has stood on the front lines of countless black-led protests, Garza understands the significance of the L.A. riot. But she also strongly believes that in order to understand the anger and rage that was displayed at the time, it is important that we unpack the circumstances that led to such levels of outrage ― as seen in L.A. and cases around the country ― and continue to identify ways to channel that outrage into more impactful and productive outcomes.

“We should be pissed off about people getting shot down in the street, we should be pissed off that police officers are abusing their power and raping poor black women, we should be pissed off that the murders of black trans women go completely unnoticed, unrecognized and uncared for ― and if we’re not pissed about that then we’re not human,” she said. “And at the same time, rage and anger is not sustainable, it is not a sustainable way to fuel a movement. Rage and anger can actually just burn you out and make you not able to keep fighting and that’s a larger consequence for our movement.”

“What’s important is that we are able to figure out how to channel the rage and anger ― not to get rid of it, but instead how to channel it into sustained resistance and really clear and sharp strategies that allow us to actually change our conditions,” Garza added. “I’m really an advocate of letting that anger and that rage fuel you into action and we then figure out together how to transform that into a vision for the world that we actually wanna live in and build a strategy that helps us get us from where we are to where we deserve to be.”

BLM has made promoting peace a central part of its mission while still acknowledging the pain, anger and frustration that comes with being black in America. The organization was founded in 2012 following the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Since then, countless black men and women have died at the hands of police, and BLM has grown in prominence and expanded its efforts to dismantle systemic racism.

King’s beating was unprecedented at the time in that it was one of the first instances where police brutality was captured on camera and shared publicly. Now, people anywhere can instantly access video footage of the police killings of black Americans like Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

But the fight for justice and liberation for black lives also requires an understanding that the experience of black people in America is not monolithic. L.A. itself has one of the highest populations of black immigrants, which includes a diverse community of Nigerians, Ethiopians, Afro-Mexicans, Afro-Latinx people and black Central Americans who identify as Garifuna, as well as people from Caribbean countries like Jamaica and Haiti, says Tia Oso, the national organizer for the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. There are more than 2.1 million African immigrants in America alone (that number is steadily climbing), and BAJI ― where Tometi is the executive director ― fights for the racial, social and economic justice of all black immigrants.

“Just as African Americans, black immigrants face issues of racial discrimination and state violence,” Oso told HuffPost, noting the recent police killing of Zelalem Eshetu Ewnetu, who migrated from Ethiopia just eight years ago. “Systemic oppression hits black immigrants and African Americans at the same pressure points.”

Organizations like BLM and BAJI embrace the diversity among blackness and, now more than ever, deliberately seek to amplify the intersecting struggles people of color face in America. In doing so, these organizations are part of a long history of black-led liberation movements, and have learned valuable lessons from past activists ― and historic moments like the L.A. riots ― to apply in the future.

“The L.A. riots impacted black activism in a way that keeps the movement honest and accountable to the plight of people who are living on the margins, living in poverty, living under the most violent oppression,” Oso said, noting that California is home to the country’s deadliest police force. “The uprising in L.A., similar to the Black Panther shootout with LAPD in the ‘60s, shows us that, though we champion policy remedies and reforms to solve our issues, that sometimes conditions in our communities reach a boiling point. It reminds us that reforms are not enough, and that the system must be transformed.”

Transforming the system requires focusing on much more than just police brutality, and both BLM and BAJI have identified ways to better holistically combat several forms of injustice against black lives. Both organizations elevate the experiences of black people ― including those who identify as queer, women, immigrant, trans and disabled ― and help to tackle issues that disproportionately affect these communities, such as deportation, poverty and incarceration.

“We’ve always said Black Lives Matter is in a long tradition of resistance to violence against black people. In essence Black Lives Matter then is not a new idea, it’s instead an idea and a movement whose time had come,” Garza said.

And the timing could not be more pressing. With Donald Trump as president and a Justice Department led by Jeff Sessions, the stakes are higher and the consequences more dire for communities of color. 

“When you look at Jeff Sessions’ record and what he’s done in the last 100 days, what you see is that he’s moving an aggressive agenda, really quietly … to give police more power, more secrecy and more leniency, and we haven’t yet seen the impact of what that will do but we will soon,” she added. “My plea to all of us would be: We have to move quickly to stop that from happening because at the end of the day, when the police are allowed to be judge, jury and executioner, everybody loses.”

“Black Lives Matter then is not a new idea, it’s instead an idea and a movement whose time had come.”
Alicia Garza

Time and again, America has witnessed racial outrage.

“Whether it’s the Rodney King trials, the L.A. uprising or Hurricane Katrina, we have these flash points where the inner workings of America get laid bare for everyone to see,” Garza said. “That’s why I emphasize that anger and rage are important, [but] how do we channel that anger and rage into resilience and vision and strategy so that we don’t have to spend our lives being angry?”

Speaking out doesn’t necessarily mean doing it through street protests ― Garza said it can also mean using your resources, voice, power and position of privilege to denounce the treatment of marginalized groups and address racial issues before they fester and lead to unfavorable consequences. If there is a collective push to transform the way America functions, then there is greater potential for the progress we all hope to achieve.

“I’m somebody who believes protest is important, and I’m somebody who believes protest is not enough,” Garza said. “It’s also important to change culture, to change the way we understand what’s happening around us, to change social norms, to change our values ― and there’s a role for everybody to play in that.”

“Let’s explore what we can do to spend our lives changing the world and moving towards the world we actually want to live in,” she said, “as a resilience strategy, as a way to come back to ourselves, to be present in our bodies, to be present in our relationships with other people and to be present in the vision that we have for what the world can look like.”

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


The Unrelenting Fight For Black Lives 25 Years After The LA Riots
The Unrelenting Fight For Black Lives 25 Years After The LA Riots
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Source: HUFFINGTON POST

22 'Fyre' Tweets About The Disaster That Was The Fyre Festival

22 'Fyre' Tweets About The Disaster That Was The Fyre Festival

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This Ja Rules.

Fyre Festival, a luxury music festival organized by Ja Rule on a private island in the Bahamas, ended up being a straight-up disaster when concertgoers arrived on Thursday.

Blink 182, one of the bands scheduled to headline, pulled out at the last minute. Accommodations were a mess, as well. Tents were half-built; there were feral dogs running amuck; and the promised gourmet grub was actually sad-looking cheese sandwiches, based on numerous social media reports.

Naturally, attendees were angry, being that they paid $5,000 to $250,000 for tickets, according to Rolling Stone.

And let’s just say that the news of a bunch of rich kids not attending the super-luxe party they thought they were going to inspired quite a few jokes on Twitter.

Here’s the most “fyre” ones:

 

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— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


22 'Fyre' Tweets About The Disaster That Was The Fyre Festival
22 'Fyre' Tweets About The Disaster That Was The Fyre Festival
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Source: HUFFINGTON POST

Ja Rule Apologizes for Fyre Festival Disaster, Says it was NOT a Scam

Ja Rule Apologizes for Fyre Festival Disaster, Says it was NOT a Scam

Ja RuleApologizes for Fyre DisasterIT WASN’T A SCAM!!!

4/28/2017 11:57 AM PDT

Breaking News

Ja Rule‘s broken his silence hours after his Fyre Festival was called off following a disastrous start … and he insists it was NOT a scam.

The rapper said Friday his main priority is “getting everyone [off] the island SAFE” and he’ll elaborate on the calamity that unfolded just days before his first ever festival kicked off at the Bahamas this weekend.

Ja Rule also said, “I’m heartbroken … it was NOT A SCAM as everyone is reporting. I don’t know how everything went so left but I’m working to make it right by making sure everyone is refunded.”

The rapper went on to say he apologizes but says, “this is NOT MY FAULT,” but is taking responsibility.

A U.S. State Department official tells us they’re monitoring the situation and “stand ready to provide appropriate consular services to any U.S. citizens in need.”

As we reported … Ja’s festival looked more like a refugee camp and ticket holders who paid between $1k to $12k walked into living accommodations which looked like they had been used in previous disaster relief efforts, empty beer stands and “gourmet food” that turned out to be 2 pieces of bread and 2 pieces of cheese.

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Ja Rule Apologizes for Fyre Festival Disaster, Says it was NOT a Scam
Ja Rule Apologizes for Fyre Festival Disaster, Says it was NOT a Scam
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Source: TMZ

Sources: Browns again rebuffed for Garoppolo

Sources: Browns again rebuffed for Garoppolo

The Cleveland Browns inquired Thursday night about trading for New England Patriots backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and were told, once again, the Patriots were not interested, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Colossal prices were paid for quarterbacks by the Chicago Bears (No. 2, Mitchell Trubisky), Kansas City Chiefs (No. 10, Patrick Mahomes II) and Houston Texans (No. 12, Deshaun Watson). The Chiefs and Texans each gave up 2017 and 2018 first-round picks — in addition to other high selections — to take those quarterbacks, while the Bears dealt this year’s first-rounder among four picks in this draft and next.

It marked the first time in the common draft era (since 1967) that three different teams traded up on draft day for a quarterback in the first round.

The Browns shipped the 12th pick to the Texans, who selected Watson, but perhaps that deal wouldn’t have unfolded if the Patriots had been willing to deal Garoppolo.

The 25-year-old Garoppolo started the Patriots’ first two games of 2016 as Tom Brady served a four-game suspension as part of the NFL’s Deflategate penalties. In those two games, Garoppolo completed over 71 percent of his passes for 496 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Garoppolo injured his right throwing shoulder late in the second quarter of his second start, and then missed the team’s next two games.

A 2014 second-round pick out of Eastern Illinois, Garoppolo is entering the final year of his rookie contract with a base salary of $820,077. Once again expected to be Brady’s top backup this year, Garoppolo is scheduled for unrestricted free agency after the season. The Patriots also have 2016 third-round draft choice Jacoby Brissett on the quarterback depth chart behind Brady, who turns 40 on Aug. 3.

As for the Browns, this marks the second year in a row that they have passed on drafting a quarterback in the first round despite a need at the position. In 2016, they traded the second overall pick to the Philadelphia Eagles, who selected quarterback Carson Wentz.

Cody Kessler, a 2016 third-round pick out of USC, is currently projected as the Browns’ starting quarterback.

While the Browns inquired about Garoppolo, one quarterback they never inquired about trading for is Kirk Cousins. Browns GM Sashi Brown called the possibility that the team tried to acquire Cousins “bad reporting.”

ESPN Browns reporter Pat McManamon contributed to this report.

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Sources: Browns again rebuffed for Garoppolo
Sources: Browns again rebuffed for Garoppolo
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Source: ESPN SPORTS

Source: Bird steps down as Pacers president

Source: Bird steps down as Pacers president

Larry Bird is stepping down as president of the Indiana Pacers, The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears has confirmed. General manager Kevin Pritchard will take over the team.

The news was first reported by The Vertical.

Among Bird’s biggest accomplishments with the team was drafting Danny Granger in 2005 and Paul George in 2010. The team also selected Kawhi Leonard in 2011 but traded his draft rights to the Spurs for George Hill.

Bird leaves the Pacers ahead of a pivotal summer in which the franchise will have to decide what to do with George. He can become a free agent after next season and there is wide speculation that he would prefer to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. The Pacers will have to decide whether to try to persuade him to stay long term or trade him.

George has not hesitated to make his displeasure with the direction of the franchise known, setting up for what is sure to be a tense summer of talks and decisions that need to be made.

A reason for Bird’s departure has not been confirmed, but sources told ESPN’s Mike Wells that the plan had always been for Bird to strongly suggest to owner Herb Simon that Pritchard take over as president when Bird eventually stepped down. Bird’s preference over the years has been to have year-to-year contracts.

Bird, 60, became head coach of the Pacers in 1997, winning Coach of the Year his first season. He resigned as head coach in 2000, but rejoined the team in 2003 as president of basketball operations. He won NBA Executive of the Year after the 2011-12 season, after the Pacers advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals, losing to the Miami Heat in six games. He retired in 2012 but took only a year off. He came back to the team as president of basketball operations.

The Pacers have announced that Bird is scheduled to have an end-of-season news conference on Monday.

He is the only person in NBA history to be named MVP, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Source: Bird steps down as Pacers president
Source: Bird steps down as Pacers president
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Source: ESPN SPORTS

Aaron Rodgers On Golf Date with 'Baywatch' Actress Kelly Rohrbach (PHOTO)

Aaron Rodgers On Golf Date with 'Baywatch' Actress Kelly Rohrbach (PHOTO)

Aaron Rodgers Golf Date with ‘Baywatch’ Actress

4/28/2017 10:33 AM PDT

Exclusive Details

Aaron Rodgers was spotted at an L.A. golf course Thursday with a very attractive blonde — and we’re told it’s “Baywatch” actress Kelly Rohrbach.

Just a few weeks after reports surfaced he split with longtime girlfriend Olivia Munn — the Green Bay Packers quarterback hit up the Westchester Golf Course. 

Witnesses tell us Rodgers and Rohrbach appeared to be holding hands and looked flirty — until they noticed people watching them.

Both Rodgers and Rohrbach are avid golfers — so maybe it was just a platonic trip to the links.

Then again, maybe not.

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Aaron Rodgers On Golf Date with 'Baywatch' Actress Kelly Rohrbach (PHOTO)
Aaron Rodgers On Golf Date with 'Baywatch' Actress Kelly Rohrbach (PHOTO)
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Source: TMZ

Fyre Festival Cancellation Will Cost Bahamas Millions

Fyre Festival Cancellation Will Cost Bahamas Millions

Ja Rule’s Fyre FestivalBahamas Blames Organizers …You Cost Us Millions!

4/28/2017 10:10 AM PDT

Exclusive Details

The crap storm of Ja Rule‘s now cancelled Fyre Festival hurts the Bahamas as much as it does concertgoers … in fact, probably more because tourism is EVERYTHING on the island.

Sources at the Bahamas tourism board tell us … they were ecstatic about Ja’s first annual “luxury” music fest because it was going to be a huge moneymaker and great pub for the islands. 

We’re told the Bahamas stands to lose out on millions with the festival being called off … and tourism officials are devastated. The Ministry of Tourism released a statement saying it’s “extremely disappointed” … especially because it offered to help the fest organizers.

Our sources say event planners were in way over their heads … grossly unprepared for an expected crowd of at least 6,000. However, they don’t think the Fyre Festival was a scam, it was just too poorly organized to continue.

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Fyre Festival Cancellation Will Cost Bahamas Millions
Fyre Festival Cancellation Will Cost Bahamas Millions
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Source: TMZ

Of Course Aidy Bryant Has An 'SNL'-Worthy Engagement Story

Of Course Aidy Bryant Has An 'SNL'-Worthy Engagement Story

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There’s no question that Aidy Bryant is one of the funniest players on the current “Saturday Night Live” roster, blessing the world with characters like Adele and that drunk girl dressed as mouse who thinks Halloween is going to be super fun this year. 

So it only makes sense that Bryant’s sense of humor would bleed into her personal life, considering she’s been dating “SNL” writer Conner O’Malley for nearly a decade. The two recently got engaged, so when Bryant stopped by “Late Night with Seth Meyers” on Thursday, she made sure to tell us all exactly how it went down. 

One night after work on the late-night sketch show with Lin Manuel Miranda, she returned home to find a strange sight: her dog wearing a bowtie. 

BB & ME

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“I was like, ‘My dog doesn’t wear a bow tie! Where is he going tonight?’” she joked. “Basically, the second I shut the door, a man — who I discovered was Conner — frantically came around the corner and was just like, ‘Will you marry me?!’”

“No box, no ‘I love you,’” she added. “Just a man in full terror standing very far from a dog in a bowtie, just holding a loose ring.”

The comedian was understandably taken aback and and thought the proposal was some elaborate joke, until she realized he was serious. Bryant, of course, said yes and the two have been happily engaged ever since. 

We guess this means the “international nasty girl” is officially out of commission. 

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


Of Course Aidy Bryant Has An 'SNL'-Worthy Engagement Story
Of Course Aidy Bryant Has An 'SNL'-Worthy Engagement Story
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Source: HUFFINGTON POST

Lil Wayne Gives Russell Westbrook An Assist To Turn Up Onstage (VIDEO)

Lil Wayne Gives Russell Westbrook An Assist To Turn Up Onstage (VIDEO)

Russell Westbrook No Worries After Playoff ExitVibin’ Onstage With Lil Wayne

4/28/2017 8:53 AM PDT

EXCLUSIVE

Great news for Russell Westbrook … he finally found a superstar willing to help him out … Lil Wayne, who brought Brodie up onstage to turn up in Oklahoma city Thursday night.

The Thunder were smacked from the playoffs by the Rockets earlier this week, but you’d never be able to tell by the way Westbrook was cheesin’ onstage while Tunechi performed his hit, “No Worries.”

BTW, Thunder player Victor Oladipo was also onstage turning up, and looked like he was trying his best, but still didn’t give Russell much help in the partying department.

Remind you of anything?

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Lil Wayne Gives Russell Westbrook An Assist To Turn Up Onstage (VIDEO)
Lil Wayne Gives Russell Westbrook An Assist To Turn Up Onstage (VIDEO)
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Source: TMZ

Nike, Under Armour, Adidas spurn deal with Ball

Nike, Under Armour, Adidas spurn deal with Ball

An endorsement deal with Nike, Under Armour or Adidas is not in the cards for Lonzo Ball.

Ball’s father, LaVar, confirmed that the three shoe and apparel companies informed him they were not interested in completing a deal with his son. Sources with the three companies told ESPN.com that they indeed were moving on.

Never in the history of modern-day shoe endorsements have the big companies all stepped away from a potential top pick nearly two months before the NBA draft. But LaVar, who has been representing Lonzo in the deal, has offered something that has no precedent.

In his meetings with all three companies, LaVar insisted that they license his upstart Big Baller Brand from him, according to the companies. He also showed the companies a shoe prototype that he hoped would be Lonzo’s first shoe.

“We’ve said from the beginning, we aren’t looking for an endorsement deal,” LaVar told ESPN. “We’re looking for co-branding, a true partner. But they’re not ready for that because they’re not used to that model. But hey, the taxi industry wasn’t ready for Uber, either.”

“We’ve said from the beginning, we aren’t looking for an endorsement deal. We’re looking for co-branding, a true partner. But they’re not ready for that because they’re not used to that model. But hey, the taxi industry wasn’t ready for Uber, either.”

LaVar Ball

Last week, Nike consultant George Raveling, at SportsBusiness Journal’s World Congress of Sports, called LaVar “the worst thing to happen to basketball in the last hundred years.”

The way LaVar sees it, Raveling’s comment is indicative of what longtime businesspeople say when the way of doing things changes.

“Just imagine how rich Tiger [Woods], Kobe [Bryant], Serena [Williams], [Michael] Jordan and LeBron [James] would have been if they dared to do their own thing,” LaVar said. “No one owned their own brand before they turned pro. We do, and I have three sons, so it’s that much more valuable.”

Lonzo declared for the draft after one season at UCLA. LaVar’s other sons have also committed to UCLA, including LiAngelo, who arrives on campus this year, and LaMelo, who just finished his sophomore season in high school.

Ball would not disclose how big the Big Baller Brand has become — the company sells hats and T-shirts ranging from $38 to $100 on its website — but he said current sales numbers shouldn’t have been on the mind of the shoe companies.

“When Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion, those guys weren’t profitable,” LaVar said.

Now that the traditional shoe companies are out, Ball said he will reach out to the Chinese brands, which include Peak, Li-Ning and Anta, and he’s not counting out taking on an entrepreneurial partner outside the business.

“That includes Facebook,” he said.

Ball said he did indeed have a prototype for Lonzo’s first shoe.

“We’re not going to sign with a company and then wait around for five or six years for a shoe like Paul George had to wait for with Nike,” Ball said.

When asked how long he has been working on the design of Lonzo’s shoe, Ball said, “I’ve been working on that shoe ever since my boys were born.”

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Nike, Under Armour, Adidas spurn deal with Ball
Nike, Under Armour, Adidas spurn deal with Ball
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Source: ESPN SPORTS