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Morning Brief: ‘The 8 Percent’ Explores The Black Experience In LA

Rondell Eskridge with his 8-month-old son, Rondell Eskridge, Jr. at a Father's Day weekend event for Black Lives Matter. (Josie Huang/LAist)
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Good morning, L.A.

This year, we’re covering Black History Month as part of The 8 Percent, a series that focuses on the lived experiences of L.A.’s Black community. All month, we’re asking readers to share: What does it mean to you to be Black in L.A.?

Here’s some of what we’ve heard so far:

"There's a slow burn of anti-Blackness felt in every aspect of life here … There's a thin veneer of liberalism laden with the pretense of fairness and equality, but this is reserved for every group of non-whites except African-Americans.”

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Brandon, Long Beach

"Being Black informs all that I do: driving, picking a place to live, going to school, getting a job. You feel as though you are an outsider or a minority among minorities."

Jessica, Glassell Park

"I am a homegrown South L.A. resident. A long time ago, being Black in my community meant togetherness, happiness, joy, prosperity, and love for one another … [Now] I see older Blacks losing their homes to death or foreclosure and resold to non-Blacks. And, I wonder: What happened? Where did my people go?

Velincia, South L.A.

“A lot of being Black in L.A./the Valley for me is about duality: Knowing how to code switch and how to turn up the Blackness or turn it down sometimes. I know in a perfect world we would say that we should just be ourselves, but in reality, you can't do that sometimes.”

Ashley, Hollywood

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Correction: Yesterday's Morning Brief mistakenly said "some L.A. city councilmembers" accepted bribes to allow developers not to offer affordable housing. In fact, only former councilman José Huizar is facing such charges. Also, the same item mistakenly said there are 66,433 people experiencing homelessness in the city. That is actually the number for all of L.A. County. LAist regrets the errors.

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What Else You Need To Know Today

Weekend Reads

There's a lot going on in the world right now, and it’s hard enough to keep up with our day-to-day lives, let alone to stay current on the news. But if you have some time this weekend, here’s what you may have missed:

Mortality rates for Black mothers and infants are three-to-four times higher than for other racial groups. These L.A. midwives aim to change that. (LAist)

The National Police Foundation will review LAPD’s response to local Black Lives Matter protests. (L.A. Sentinel)

Political strategist and commentator Jasmyne Cannick writes that without the support of Black voters, the campaign to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom is dead in the water. (L.A. Watts Times)

One local prosecutor is making it his mission to revolt against criminal justice reforms touted by L.A.’s new district attorney. (LAist)

Jennifer Duarte, the Children's Librarian at Benjamin Franklin Branch Library in Boyle Heights, has navigated doing her job and pandemic parenting by designating times and spaces for everything. (The Eastsider)

The tragic death of a four-year-old girl at a Koreatown intersection shines a light on L.A.’s failure to make roads safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. (LAist)

Coronavirus deaths in L.A.’s Latina/o community have increased by 1,000% since November. (La Opinión)

For food vendors and day laborers who hustle outside hardware stores, this is what a typical day looks like. (L.A. Taco)

There’s a lot to know about getting the second dose of the coronavirus vaccine, from how long to wait between shots, to what to do if your initial site closed down. (LAist)

These Black entrepreneurs are creating new services, products and pathways in Los Angeles. (L.A. Business Journal)

For kids with a family member who is incarcerated, this nonprofit provides a space to express their pain — and process it through art. (San Fernando Valley Sun)

L.A.’s deep history with spicy food has led to some delicious — and very hot — local mainstays. (Eater L.A.)

Before You Go … How 'Mr. Mayor' Turned A '30 Rock' Spinoff Into LA Comedy

Vella Lovell's Mikaela speaks with Kyla Kennedy as Orly, the mayor's daughter, in Episode 103 of Mr. Mayor, "Brentwood Trash." (Tina Thorpe/NBC)

The new NBC comedy Mr. Mayor, starring TV veteran Ted Danson as a wealthy ad executive-turned-mayor of Los Angeles, is the latest from Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, who've been busy creating a modern TV comedy dynasty following the success of 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

But as long-time observers of New York City, what does it mean when they start writing about L.A.?

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The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft, and check for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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