30 years after L.A. burned two Latino Jewish immigrants bring hope

The lot at Manchester and Vermont avenues today. An artist rendering of the planne Evermont project. Illustration by Evermont Near the corner of Vermont and Manchester avenues, someone created a huge mural consisting of a single word: “HOPES.”

It’s been there for a while, and Michelle Clark, who lives nearby, sees it as a cruel joke.

“Look around,” said Clark, 59, who was pushing a shopping cart full of recyclables. “It’s more like ‘The Walking Dead’ out here.”

Clark was born and raised on 92nd Street, a few blocks away. She said when her parents moved from Little Rock, Arkansas, to L.A., the area was nice and safe, full of mom-and-pop stores that eventually were joined by shopping centers and bigger retailers, like Payless shoes.

She was in the neighborhood when civil unrest broke out following the April 29, 1992, verdict by a Simi Valley jury not to convict any Los Angeles Police Department officers for the beating of a Black man, Rodney King.

“Everything burned,” she said. “We had nothing after the riots.”That was 30 years ago Friday, and from where we were standing it was hard to see signs of improvement. The area has L.A.’s highest violent crime rate . Last September, […]

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Michelle Rojas-Soto is Social Justice Director at the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council and Managing Director at Encompass, a racial equity nonprofit. Her children attend LAUSD and Glendale USD schools.

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