King’s L.A.

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita Interracial marriages? Integrated neighborhoods? These are just part of our daily lives in Southern California, as unremarkable as sunny weather or traffic jams. In L.A., for the most part, we have come to expect to be judged not by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character. That’s not to say all is perfect in this town. Crime and poverty continue to disproportionately afflict the African-American and Latino communities, as do subpar schools and gang violence. But the challenges of today are rooted more in culture and economics than in racial prejudice, and this itself is great progress. We still have a way to go, but the Los Angeles and America of today are far more tolerant and less bigoted than they were 40 years ago. For this, we owe King a tremendous debt of gratitude. He had the courage to call America to live up to its own ideals, to be a better, more-just nation. And because of him we can now say, more confidently than ever, we shall overcome. Martin Luther King Day is one of those civic holidays that’s too easily and too often taken for granted as a day off for public employees, bankers and students. But if we really want to honor King and admire his amazing legacy, there’s something very simple each of us can do – look around this great city of ours. The Los Angeles of 2006 may fall short of the dream King famously envisioned in 1963, but it is a remarkable testament to how far our society has come in eliminating racism and advancing equality – thanks to his courageous and inspiring leadership. Just a few years after King was assassinated, Los Angeles elected its first black mayor and then re-elected him four times. Then last May, Los Angeles elected Antonio Villaraigosa as mayor. That Villaraigosa is a Latino somehow qualified as big news nationwide, but in L.A., the racial angle was all but irrelevant. We elected a Latino? What else is new? The diversity of our elected officials – at the city, county and state levels – is unparalleled. In this town, there is nothing unusual, let alone uncomfortable, about seeing people of all races and ethnicities in all sorts of positions of power, be it political, corporate or academic. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img