From Civil Unrest to Civic Awakening:
Twenty-Five Years of the Empowerment Congress
Los Angeles was simmering with tension when Mark Ridley-Thomas won election to the Los Angeles City Council in June, 1991.
Just three months before, in March, Rodney King had led police on a long car chase before being beaten by the LAPD officers as a bystander shot video. The footage shocked audiences around the world, but many residents of Ridley-Thomas’ South Los Angeles district saw the brutality depicted as merely the rare public airing of a common occurrence – a pattern of police behavior they had long seen in their communities.