Empowerment Congress History

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Twenty Years of the Empowerment Congress

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.

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