Monday, January 22, 2007

Racial Intolerance Ignites Gang War Killing

Cheryl Green, a 14 year old eighth grader who loved watching TV with her mother, was shot dead on January 16, 2006 in Los Angeles. Latino gang members were on the prowl, looking to kill any black person they could find. Unfortunately, Cheryl was the first they came across and their racial hatred expressed itself through her murder. The spray of bullets that killed her while she chatted innocently with friends left several other young people injured.

Police said the killing of Cheryl is indicative of a wave of bias-related attacks and incidents where racial and ethnic tension often ignite. With the major riots of 1965 (Watts Riot) and 1992 (Rodney King Verdict Riot) still seared in our memories, recent Latino versus black confrontations are a concern to civil rights advocates and communities. Rivalries between Latin and black gangs are fuel for racial intolerance and this is often heightened due to changing neighborhood dynamics.

The gang threat in Los Angeles is "ground zero for modern gang activity" according to FBI Director Robert Mueller who traveled to Los Angeles on January 18, 2007 to discuss the nationwide battle against gang violence.

According to a New York Times January 17, 2007 article, Rabbi Allen Freehling, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Human Relations Commission, said growth in recent hate crimes reflects government and community leadership failure to prepare residents for socioeconomic changes "and therefore people have a tendency to lash out, out of desperation."

View the FBI Director's LA Visit Concerning Gangs

Visit Los Angeles County Human Rights Commission

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