Special News Series: Rising Up For Justice! – Black Lives Matter brings new vitality to LA neighborhood

Introduction To This Series:

This post is one installment in an ongoing news series: a “living history” of the current national and international uprising for justice.

Today’s movement descends directly from the many earlier civil rights struggles against repeated injustices and race-based violence, including the killing of unarmed Black people. The posts in this series serve as a timeline of the uprising that began on May 26, 2020, the day after a Minneapolis police officer killed an unarmed Black man, George Floyd, by kneeling on his neck. The viral video of Floyd’s torturous suffocation brought unprecedented national awareness to the ongoing demand to truly make Black Lives Matter in this country.

The posts in this series focus on stories of the particular killings that have spurred the current uprising and on the protests taking place around the USA and across the globe. Sadly, thousands of people have lost their lives to systemic racial, gender, sexuality, judicial, and economic injustice. The few whose names are listed here represent the countless others lost before and since. Likewise, we can report but a few of the countless demonstrations for justice now taking place in our major cities, small towns, and suburbs.

To view the entire series of Rising Up for Justice! posts, insert “rising up” in the search bar above.

Black Lives Matter brings new vitality to Leimert Park.

Owners are hoping it will last.

By Kailyn Brown, Los Angeles Times

September 11, 2020

Leimert Park sidewalk
People enjoy an evening in Leimert Park – a neighborhood that is considered the cultural hub for Black culture. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

From the porch of his namesake shop in Leimert Park Village, Sika Dwimfo, 79, has watched the community absorb the tides of history.

Sika, who is known to everyone in the neighborhood by his mononym, can often be found sitting in a lawn chair in front of the store, greeting passersby and observing the happenings in Leimert Park as he’s been doing for nearly 30 years.

He’s had a front-row seat to major events including the 1992 riots, economic downturns, changing demographics and more recently the rapid gentrification that some fear could taint the community’s unique identity as a cultural hub for the Black community.

But in the midst of the global pandemic and the boiling point of racial tensions occurring worldwide, Leimert Park is experiencing a revival.

After closing his store — which is known for nose piercings, African imports and handmade jewelry — for two months due to the coronavirus, Sika has been receiving his best sales since opening in 1992. Many of his neighbors have been experiencing a similar growth.

Now, when Sika looks out to the village along Degnan Boulevard, he hears the sounds of reggae music blaring from car stereos for the entire block to hear. He sees people dining outside and lining up to enter stores that have reached capacity. And he watches a steady flow of cars filled with potential customers come in and out of the area throughout the day.

“It’s like a new beginning to a cultural revolution,” Sika said.

The police killing of George Floyd and the surge of activism around Black Lives Matter has suddenly made the shopping district once again a destination for discussion, gatherings and commerce. And the movement’s push to support Black-owned businesses has also attracted Black shoppers who are intent on spending money in their communities.

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