Nina Revoyr (b. 1969, Japan)

Written by Nina Revoyr

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Southland, 2003

"What did it look like around here thirty years ago?"

"More open," said Lanier. "The houses didn’t look much different—they were nice, and a lot of blocks are still real nice, as you’ll see. Although just about everyone has bars on their windows now. There weren’t gangs, not the way we have them today. And a lot of these here businesses," he waved his hand in front of Jackie’s face, "were open. This was just a nice, solid, middle-class area, pretty mixed-race even way back then, with a lot of black and Japanese folks. During the ‘65 uprising, the looting didn’t start up here until the third or fourth day. It was a lot less widespread than the mess in ‘92. But then, things were a whole lot worse in ‘92."

Jackie nodded, more in acknowledgment than agreement. She’d watched the ‘92 riots unfold on TV. The rioters had made it to within a mile of her apartment, all the way up to Pico and Fairfax, extending into Hollywood just east of her, along La Brea and Western and Vermont. She’d been horrified and scared, though less certain than Lanier that this upheaval was somehow understandable. But now she remembered the TV newspeople talking about how "it" was coming closer to "us"; telling their viewers — as if they couldn’t see and smell for themselves — of the smoke that hovered over the city.


© 2003 Nina Revoyr; New York: Akashic Books

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