FROM Anna Deavere Smith
What Can the Rest of the Country Learn from the LA Riots? A recent conference on the aftermath of the 1992 Rodney King riots was called "Los Angeles: America, only sooner." What are the lessons for the rest of America — then and now? For complete KCRW coverage of the 1992 riots, go to KCRW.com/LARiots .
What Can the Rest of the Country Learn from the LA Riots? In 1991, Rodney King, an African American, was chased down for drunk driving by officers of the Los Angeles Police Department. King was beaten by the LAPD, struck more than 56 times and tasered more than once. The incident was videotaped by a bystander and broadcast repeatedly, locally and worldwide. Four of the officers were charged with excessive force and tried a year later in the white, conservative suburb of Simi Valley. When all were acquitted of all charges, the city exploded, but the LAPD was completely unprepared. Exactly 20 years ago today, Los Angeles was in the second day of a riot that killed 53 people, wounded thousands and cost more than a billion dollars. It was a perfect storm of police abuse, racial hostility, economic decline and crime, including deadly traffic in crack cocaine. Today, crime's declined, people feel safer and race relations are much improved, but LA's troubles aren't over yet. What can the rest of the country learn from a city that's often called a preview of America's future? For complete KCRW coverage of the 1992 riots, go to http://KCRW.com/LARiots .
Anna Deavere Smith Brings Her New Play to Santa Monica Anna Deavere Smith took this town by storm with Twilight: Los Angeles , after the 1992 riots, interviewing characters, including public figures and private citizens, and then personifying them word-for-word in a one-woman stage performance. She's an accomplished actress, with credits in film and TV, a professor at New York University and a recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant. Starting Friday, she's back for two weeks, this time at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica in another one-woman performance, Let Me Down Easy .
What happens when America retreats from the world? Is President Trump taking his "America First" agenda to extremes, withdrawing the country from the international stage on trade and climate change, distancing America from its traditional allies across the Atlantic and even threatening to physically isolate the country through the building of a wall along its southern border? León Krauze guest hosts.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.