(LOS ANGELES) — The First AME Church of Los Angeles held a special service on Sunday to honor the 20 year anniversary of the L.A. riots, ABC affiliate KABC reports.
The Rev. Al Sharpton spoke at two services at the church that was used as a shelter for evacuees and has since helped people find employment and gain an education.
On April 29, 1992, four police officers were acquitted in the brutal beating of Rodney King, which was videotaped by a bystander the year before and broadcast across the nation. Violence erupted a few hours after the verdict into riots that lasted six days and left 53 people dead and almost 2,000 people injured. Damage to property totaled a billion dollars.
The Rev. John Hunter, the church’s pastor, said that the service on Sunday was intended to focus on the repercussions of the riots and how far the city has come since then.
“While we know we’ve made great progress, certainly Trayvon Martin indicates to us and brings to the conscious of the country that we still have progress to be made,” Hunter said.
Volunteers in South Los Angeles planted trees and prepared a vacant lot for a community garden, in the space where a grocery store was destroyed 20 years ago.
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