Connie Rice: From the Courtroom to the Kill Zones
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LA's Rodney King riot of 1992 was America's deadliest and most expensive civil disturbance in the 20th Century. A young lawyer named Connie Rice saw it as an opportunity. Taking up Martin Luther King's call for a "radical reconstruction of society itself," she made legal war on the brutal abuse of blacks and Hispanics by the LAPD and the Sheriff's Department. At the risk of her life, she learned the worst about gang culture, and ultimately enlisted gang members, as well as whistle-blowing cops, to help bring about real reform. We talk to her about the achievements, and the setbacks, she describes in her new book, Power Concedes Nothing. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, Dr. King's dream and American politics.
Banner image: Connie Rice, taken from the front cover of her new book
Connie Rice: Fighting the Good Fight ()
Asked recently for a job description, Connie Rice called herself a "civic entrepreneur" or a "democracy engineer." LAPD Chief Charlie Beck calls her "the conscience of the city" of Los Angeles -- and she has own parking space at police headquarters. That's a big change for a young lawyer who joined the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund here in 1990, promising a campaign of "impact litigation" against the LAPD and the Sheriff's Department, hoping to "redefine traditional civil rights in the 21st Century." That's just one of the ambitious goals she lines out in a remarkable book called Power Concedes Nothing: One Woman's Quest for Social Justice in America, from the Courtroom to the Kill Zones.
The Politics of Race in the Era of Barack Obama ()
Barack Obama is the first black man elected President of the United States. Nobody can deny that constitutes progress toward Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream of a "colorblind" society. But others call Barack Obama a Muslim who was born outside the country. What role does race play in American politics? In the re-election campaign?
- Peniel Joseph: Tufts University
- Marie Stroughter: African American Conservatives, @mariestroughter
- Walter Rhett: historian and writer, @walterrhett
- Mikki Taylor: Essence magazine
Which Way L.A.? is made possible in part by the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, which supports study and research into policy issues of the Los Angeles region.
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