LOS Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Police Chief William Bratton and the City Council can’t be thrilled by the recent report from the Violence Policy Center. The nonprofit public-advocacy group ranked California fourth-worst in the nation in the black homicide rate. Though blacks make up less than 10 percent of the city’s population, they account for more than one-third of its murder victims. The victims are young. The number of those killed under age 18 in Los Angeles is greater than the national average. And judging from the recent killing of 14-year-old Cheryl Green in Harbor Gateway and the many other nameless, faceless young blacks who are gunned down with tormenting regularity on South L.A. and San Fernando Valley streets, they are getting even younger. Villaraigosa and Bratton finger gangs as the cause for much of the violence and scream for more federal funds and law-enforcement help, more gang sweeps and injunctions. They even pay some lip service to the Advancement Project’s recent pitch to the City Council to shell out millions for social programs to attack the gang problem. But tough, enforced gang injunctions, gang sweeps and even an array of new job and education programs wouldn’t totally solve L.A.’s black murder surge. That’s because city officials refuse to put a racial tag on the killings, or make a real effort to understand why so many young blacks in the city kill each other. Many of those who tuck guns in their waistbands and shoot up so many of the city’s neighborhoods hardly flinch at the prospect of doing a long stretch in prison if caught. They have no fear of jail, death or being universally reviled as cowards, predators and urban terrorists. They feel that no one cares whether they live or die. Their belief that their lives are devalued fosters disrespect for the law and forces them to internalize anger and displace aggression onto others. They have become especially adept at acting out their frustrations at white society’s denial of their “manhood” by adopting an exaggerated “tough guy” role. They swagger, boast, curse, fight and commit violent, self-destructive acts. The accessibility of drugs and guns, and the influence of misogynist, violence-laced rap songs also reinforce the deep feeling among many youth that life is cheap and easy to take, and there will be minimal consequences for their action as long as their victims are other young blacks. And as long as the attackers regard their victims as weak, vulnerable and easy pickings, they will continue to kill and maim with impunity. The other powerful ingredient in the deadly mix of black violence is the drug plague. Drug trafficking not only provides illicit profits, but also makes the gunplay even more widespread. Gang members use their arsenals to fend off attacks, protect their profits from hostile predators, and to settle scores with rivals. Then there’s the chronic poverty, joblessness and miserably failing, under-served schools that trap legions of young blacks. California’s Legislative Black Caucus recently released a report which showed that blacks in the state lag far behind whites, Asians and Latinos in income, education and homeownership. Not surprisingly, blacks are more likely to have felony records and are far more likely to be homicide victims than any of the other groups. The black lawmakers vow to push the Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to do more to help poor blacks. With renewed jitters over looming budget shortfalls, it will be a long and hard-fought battle to get the legislature to take action. Yet, given the worsening poverty and living conditions that slam many blacks in L.A. and throughout the state, it’s a fight the caucus is duty-bound to wage. But a piecemeal job or training program won’t do much to cut down the number of murders, or drop the temperature level of anger that has risen among many residents over the killings. Yet there are some immediate actions that Villaraigosa and the L.A. City Council can take even without the hundreds more cops they need for the streets, or having to scrounge up the millions needed to bankroll new job, education and recreation programs the social reformers demand. They can beef up foot and bicycle patrols in those areas that have been hit hardest by the violence, and bump up spending on violence-prevention and gang-intervention programs. And they can better coordinate the scattered and disjointed job, skills-training, education and drug-treatment programs that are already in play for at-risk youth. The high homicide problem among blacks is hardly a problem that’s unique to L.A. But that’s no consolation to the parents and relatives of the young black men and women who are at mortal risk from violence in this city. It’s a concern that we all must take seriously if California is to shake the dubious tag of being one of America’s highest-ranking murder states. Earl Ofari Hutchinson is a political analyst and a regular contributor to the Daily News. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Hildi and Lorenzo drove all the way from Las Vegas, where they are both now staff members of the Las Vegas City Planning Department.In the foreground are some of our International crew enjoying their first US Thanksgiving, anthropologist Ivan Severi from Italy and architect Fernanda Ayala Torres from Columbia.The table with delicious deserts is taking center stage.“Yummyness” all around. November 30, 2016Family members of our staff and volunteers came for the Thanksgiving Dinner, also some of the local alumni.[photos by Sue Kirsch] read more
Fidji SimoOne in every five videos posted to Facebook is now a live broadcast, according to Facebook vice-president of product, Fidji Simo.In a post on the social network, Simo revealed that over the past year daily watch time for Facebook Live broadcasts has also grown more than fourfold.The stats come a year after Facebook rolled out Facebook Live, enabling people around the world to live-stream video via the social network.“Every day, we get to enjoy new use cases for Live that we would never have thought about,” said Simo.“A year after the event in this video, we’re still at the beginning of our journey and we’re excited for all the creativity that is yet to come.”Facebook first started to test live video streaming in the US in December 2015. In January 2016 it expanded the trial to all of its US iPhone users, before expanding Facebook Live to the rest of the world. read more