Common goal: how soccer healed a gang and riot-hit area of LA
South Los Angeles is a 51 sq m grille of concrete and asphalt, spread flat below the sparkle of Hollywood and the towers of downtown. Early city leaders wrote racist covenants forcing black people and Latino immigrants into the blocks of south LA – not-so-subtly barricading them from the opulence beyond.
Twice in the last 52 years, south LA has exploded into days of fiery riots following incidents of police brutality. The most recent, in 1992, erupted at the intersection of Florence and Normandie Avenues, roughly the area’s geographic centre, after the police beating of an unarmed man, Rodney King, was captured on video. The riots lasted for nearly a week, leading to 12,000 arrests and exposing the world to LA’s complex and violent tangle of gangs, who still patrol much of the area today.