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Podcasts California Love
California Love
Episode 8
We close the series with a meditation on how 28 years after the 1992 Riots, for many in L.A., things feel exactly the same.

Episode 8 Transcript: Epilogue
Walter Thompson-Hernández: It’s June 2020. We’ve already finished the show. Production’s wrapped. But there is something else I need to say.

[News clips]

Walter Thompson-Hernández: The 1992 uprisings don't seem too far away considering what happened to George Floyd a couple of months ago. I know the media is depicting what’s going on through a really narrow lens. We’re seeing images of either looting or violence

[News clips]

Walter Thompson-Hernández: Or people are hugging cops and kneeling together.

[We want to be with y’all for real]

Walter Thompson-Hernández: But it’s not that simple.

[BLM Protest]

Walter Thompson-Hernández: Folks aren’t just demonstrating against the cops who ended George Floyd’s life. They’re also demonstrating for the murder of Ahmad Aubrey in Georgia. Breonna Taylor in Kentucky. Tony McDade in Florida… And the deaths of black men in Palmdale and Victorville, who were both found hanging.

[BLM Defund Police]

Walter Thompson-Hernández: This all feels like it's been brewing for a while now. Some people think L.A. is all palm trees and fun and a place where transplants can come to start a new life. They forget that L.A. has always been a place where people take to the streets to protest against injustice.

SFX: PROP 209 - integration is a must we won’t take the back of the bus …

SFX: MOS 1992 VERDICT REACT - gave the okay to continue to abuse and oppress and suppress black people and reject black people ...

SFX: 1878 PRIEST REACT - 187 has divided a lot of people …

SFX: RAGE AT THE DNC 2000 - Our democracy has been hijacked ...

Walter Thompson-Hernández: These same streets are where my mom took me as a child to protest propositions like 187 and 209. It felt like my mom and I were at different actions every weekend back then. But, L.A., like the rest of this country, is still a place that also continues to feel unsafe for black men and women.

[Radio:Black babies in the United States are two times...

African Americans are essential...

African Americans unemployment rate...

African Americans are dying of covid 19…]

[Horses trotting]

Walter Thompson-Hernández: The Compton Cowboys don’t just ride through Compton because they love horses. They also ride because riding is a form of protection against the police. It’s a form of safety, almost like a piece of armor. But listen, Black people shouldn’t have to continue to find creative ways to stay alive. Especially in a city like ours — that continues to displace us. You think folks really wanted to move to the Inland Empire in the 90s? Nah uh. That was forced. Whole families were broken up and we’re still feeling the effects of that today. I’ve attended some of the most recent BLM actions.

[BLM Protest]

Walter Thompson-Hernández: I walked next to groups of black and brown people in their early twenties who may not have been alive in ‘92. To be honest, part of me really wanted to help them burn things to the ground. Through things at corporations that benefit from our pockets, but do little to address the economic inequality that brought these young people out in droves in the first place. But — another part of me felt conflicted. Torn between participating and documenting. I ended up somewhere in the middle. All this got me thinking. How do transplants feel about the city right now? I bet folks are wondering if this is what they signed up for. I wonder if they think they’re victims or potentially, a part of the solution. Shit — Or if they even think it at all. Who knows? What I do know is that different parts of the city are burning right now. And even if by the time you hear this the marches are over and some band aid solutions have been enacted, and things are no longer burning, living while being black in America can feel like the fire is always coming for you.


Stop and Frisk...

Unarmed black man shot 20 times ...

Investigation into racial profiling ...

Blame on both sides claims 45 …]

Walter Thompson-Hernández: Today, though, in our city, the National Guard has now set up shop in different intersections... And it feels like I’ve seen this all before.

[G.H.W address to the nation day 3 of 92 riots - 1]

Walter Thompson-Hernández: Because, I have: Their assault rifles. Their tanks. Their military uniforms.

[G.H.W address to the nation day 3 of 92 riots - 2]

Walter Thompson-Hernández: The National Guard was also called in 1992. It wasn’t safe for my mom couldn’t come back home that night, so she stayed on the Westside with a close friend. She drove through the fire and smoke the next day to be with me. As she drove, she watched as the city lit in flames, while I watched it burn on tv, and inhaled the smoke through my seven year old lungs. But nothing feels like it’s changed since I was seven.

[No justice! No peace!]

Walter Thompson-Hernández: The ‘92 uprisings are part of the reason my mom and I moved to the westside. And the uprisings changed the course of our lives forever. How many lives will these demonstrations change forever? To be honest, I didn’t think this show would end with me reflecting about the 92 uprisings or the murder of more black man and women by police violence. I really had no idea. But maybe that’s the way it was supposed to end all along. ‘Cause while one pandemic was happening, another one -- one that has been around for hundreds of years -- also continued to kill us.

[SFX: shooting]

Walter Thompson-Hernández: This show is a collection of stories from people and communities who mean the world to me. That’s not an exaggeration. These stories are sacred and are so personal to my life. I don’t even know if it’s journalism cause I am not a fly on the wall. These stories are a part of my life. It feels like something way deeper.

Yesika Salgado: You deserve everything you told yourself you don’t deserve and your body is not, something you apologize for. And your body doesn’t determine whether people get to treat you as a person or not…

Ellie Hernández: I feel so powerful. I feel like my mom is Chingona.

Joe Connolly: Rudy — that fucking guy stole my story.Walter Thompson-Hernández: What do you mean?

Joe Connoly: That mother fuckin’ guy stole my story.

Walter Thompson-Hernández: Even people like Joe Connolly — remember him? The white dude who I used to hate as a teenager? Well, he and I talk on the phone once a week now. And Joe’s a good dude. And really loves this city. I really hope you enjoyed this show. I hope it brings you something you may have needed. For me, it made me revisit things in my life that I didn’t know I still had to work through. For people from L.A. though — it really feels like we’re a dying breed sometimes, caught between nostalgia and an unpredictable future. I hope something in this show reminds us of how beautiful this city is. Or was. That yes, Hollywood, and the beaches are here but there’s so much more. This show wasn’t never meant as a Welcome sign to L.A. -- full of bright neon lights that light the way for the newly arrived. If anything, this show does the opposite. I always envisioned this more like an audio archive for my friends and my family, for those who have been forced to leave. And, for those who have fought to stay, it’s an ongoing memory. This show is a reminder that people of color — like George Floyd — like many of the voices that you’ve heard in these episodes, are beautiful, special, and that our lives matter. That black lives matter. And, that our city does, too.


This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.