New mural symbolizes an old struggle for community activists
Two groups honored at the Human Rights Day dedication
The ideas of scholars, activists, neighborhood youth and others, along with graffiti-based designs of artist Man One, blended together to create an imposing new mural at the Southern California Library. Titled “They Claim I’m a Criminal,” the mural highlights the achievements of two community organizations, Mothers Reclaiming Our Children (Mothers ROC or MROC) and the Coalition Against Police Abuse (CAPA).
According to its web site, the “library holds collections that span the breadth of social and political movements in Los Angeles,” including labor, civil rights, education, housing, immigration, war and peace and civil liberties. The collections comprise more than 400 manuscripts, as well as books, periodicals, subject files, pamphlets, posters, photographs, films, audiotapes. Also included are the documents of the groups featured in the mural.
The library is located at 6120 S. Vermont Ave. in Los Angeles.
Man One, who began as a tagger in 1987 but went on to earn a fine arts degree from Loyola Marymount University and, reportedly “helped to change the way the world interpreted graffiti and urban art,” is founder and director of Crewest, a street/underground art gallery in downtown's Gallery Row district and “the only L.A.-based gallery dedicated to the upliftment of graffiti art.”
Among the speakers at the dedication on Friday, Dec. 10, were Geri Silva, director of Families to Amend California’s Three Strikes (FACTS), and Bilal Ali, a founding member of Mothers ROC and now a community organizer for Coalition L.A. who worked formerly with CAPA.
Formed in 1992 but no longer active, Mothers ROC was an effort to reclaim the increasing numbers of youths being shuffled through the state’s criminal justice system. The mothers and others burdened with supporting imprisoned loved ones found aid and assistance through the organization.
“While Black women’s participation and leadership formed the core of MROC, women and men of all backgrounds also joined the group, “united in the purpose to free loved ones who were imprisoned throughout California,” according to a statement by the organization.
Among its demands were an “immediate end to the War on Drugs; the repeal of the ‘three strikes’ law; more funding for public defenders; an end to mandatory minimum sentencing laws; and an end to racial profiling, warrant-less searches, and other issues.
Former Black Panther and community organizer Zinzun, who died in 2006, was co-founder of CAPA and another organization, the Community in Support of the Gang Truce. CAPA was formed in 1976 “in response to a wave of police shootings, beatings, and harassment” and “provided counseling and support for victims of police crime, going so far as to keep files and to document police abuse. Zinzun and CAPA also led several voter initiatives to establish a police civilian review board.
The Southern California Library is open to all. For more information, go to www.socallib.org or call (323) 759-6063.
View Park resident and retired Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) police officer David Anthony couldn’t believe his eyes when he entered the Lock n’ Load gun and ammo store in Henderson, Nev.
But there it was right in plain view, a pristine 60mm machine gun positioned high on a shelf for sale; a weapon, he feels, that kept him and his platoon alive during his tour of duty as a 19-year-old machine gunner in 1968 in the Vietnam War.
The LAPD’s history of impropriety casts an especially long shadow across the annals of law enforcement, given the city’s scrutiny as a media center, but it has its competition, especially in the persona of Frank Rizzo, Philadelphia police commissioner and mayor, whose polarizing bravado easily rivaled the legacy of the LAPD’s William Parker and Darryl Gates.
The New York Police Department recently released security camera footage of a suspect wanted in the Manhattan shooting of Brandon Lincoln Woodward.
The footage shows the gunman exit the passenger side of a parked Lincoln sedan about 10 minutes before the shooting on Monday. The suspect was wearing khakis and a dark hooded sweatshirt and his face was not clearly captured on video. A separate photo shows the gunman reaching into his pocket for a pistol moments before he shot the 31-year-old from Los Angeles in the back of the head.
A grateful John Edward Smith happily joined a small group of family and friends at his exoneration party Saturday, where he was welcomed with applause, cheers, and tears of relief. Smith was exonerated on Sept. 24 after spending 19 years in state prisons, most recently at Calipatria State Prison in Imperial County for a crime he did not commit.
“Thank you everyone for getting me back to my grandmother,” said the 37-year-old man. “She was the source of my faith and strength.”
INGLEWOOD, Calif.—A man who was out looking for the people who had vandalized his Inglewood home was shot to death in a nearby driveway, police said today.
Sergio Velez, 48, who was wheelchair-bound, was looking for whoever had thrown flower pots through the windows of the home he shared with his wife, sons and grandchildren, his widow told KCAL9. The vandals had also slashed their car tires and left graffiti on the walls.
Velez was found three blocks from his home around 2:20 a.m. Sunday, having been shot in the head and the chest, police said.