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A call to end L.A.'s racial gang violence

June 15, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Community activists are calling for neighborhood peace and an end to racial tension between African-Americans and Latinos. That call comes from the leaders of some of the most prominent civil-rights organizations in Southern California."This behavior is simply unacceptable," said Blair Taylor Monday.

Los Angeles Urban League Chief Executive Officer Blair Taylor wants to see an end to racial tensions between African-Americans and Latinos.

The latest evidence of that violence is an attack on an African-American family in Duarte. The intruders broke into the home, newly rented by Chanisse Davy and her four children. They vandalized every room, spray-painting racial slurs on the floors and walls.

"We want a public campaign to ostracize those small groups of people that would try to draw a wedge between black and brown in this city," said Leon Jenkins, NAACP president.

Jenkins, along with other local African-American leaders, is reaching out to Latino leaders with an invitation for both communities to work together to end "brown on black" and "black on brown" attacks.

"We're opening up a dialogue with our Hispanic brothers and sisters," said Jenkins. "Secondly, we will file a formal complaint with the FBI, and we will put the city of L.A., the district attorney's office, and the county sheriff's office, that we want vigorous re-enforcement and enforcement of the law against all hate crimes."

Leaders in both communities don't want to focus on the tension between the groups, saying there many more blacks and Latinos who get along than those who don't, but in a recent FBI raid, 147 gang members from a notorious Latino gang were arrested in Hawaiian Gardens. Among the allegations against them, was that they specifically targeted blacks.

"We have a problem, and that problem needs to be addressed," said Reverend Eric P. Lee, Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles. "And so very briefly I'd like to make a call out again to our African-American, Latino brothers and sisters to come together, sit down with this coalition of organizations, because at the end of the day, we have more in common than we have apart from one another."

Channise Davy, who left the Duarte home after it was vandalized, is still looking for a permanent place to live. Donations she received Monday from the African-American leaders will help her secure a new home.

"We do need to come together as one so that we can make our community a stronger and safer environment for everyone," said Davy.

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