National Reparations Day - Chronicling Compton - March 15, 2014

But first, the bits and pieces of Compton

The Daily Life Review:  Parking and National Reparations Day 

Unfortunately, due to my day job, I was not able to attend either Amiri Baraka's celebration nor hear our mayor speak at USC.  The breaks.

 1)  Parking really sucks on my block.  Everywhere I've lived (or visited quite often) has been the same, from Silver Lake to Lakewood to Panorama City to Wilmington, I've had to utilize some kind of parking "strategy."

It's not so much that I can't find parking, it's just that some neighbors always take the parking space in front of our house.  And it's not like they have one car, there are 2 in their driveway, 1 in front of their house, 1 or 2 on the other side.

This week it's not only in front of our house, but two of their cars are almost obstructing our driveway.

I've been tempted to call municipal code or something and have them tow away their truck, which is perfectly legal after 3 days. 

On another note, I can't believe I'm actually worked up about this.

2) National Reparations Day.  Exactly a week ago, March 6th, aghast at how slow my running pace has become, I decided that I was going to run from my house to Cal State Dominguez Hills, which is about a 5 mile roundtrip.

Along the way, I see a fallen white bicyclist tribute on Gardena and Avalon.

On the way back, mid-afternoon I see how Carson morphs into Compton.

I get on Central on the Easterly sidewalk next to the airport.  Right across from Tragniew Park.


I heard this all the way on the Easterly sidewalk of Central Ave near the Airport.

As I get closer, I see booths set up.  A fair of some sort.

My field of vision is greeted by a wooden representation of a slave ship, adorned with a white T-shirt carrying an image of Africa and the American flag. 

 On the basketball court, the drumming.

A middle-aged black belly dancer.

There is a small crowd of about 30 or so people scattered in booths.  What are they selling?  Shirts, food, but mostly to promote National Reparations Day (NRD).

I see men dressed in Nation of Islam-like clothing --- suit with a bowtie.

I wonder how they in particular would receive me, an ambiguous-looking maybe Latino, maybe Asian man in an event dedicated to "their" cause.

No one talks to me as I wonder and glance at the dancers on the basketball court.  In my head, I'm replaying scenes at the church where we were talking with long-time parishioners, and one of them makes the comment to my fiance about soothing over Latino-black relations, "it takes one person."

I walk hesitantly towards the booths trying to understand what "this" is all about.  I mean, I know what it's about, but I have a few questions about how such a celebration/movement was brought on this particular day.

Why March 6th?  Any significance to it?

I seek out the booths, glancing at who might be receptive to my inquiries.  I look for a booth with flyers and giveaways.

After some initial hesitation, I approach that booth with the flyers, hoping to learn more.

A middle-aged woman wearing a shirt naming Latin American countries also in the African diaspora.

She doesn't really give me an answer about why March 6 other than to say "it's time."  Her way of saying, "if not now, then when." 

She appears to be surprised and impressed by my mere appearance at this gathering at the edge of West Compton.

She talks to me about how the younger generation doesn't seem to understand the impacts of slavery.  She likens the experience of slavery to a holocaust, mostly as a way for the younger generation to understand the emotional toll it exacts on people today. 

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