As the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture reflected on the 1992 Civil Unrest, the words and efforts of the Rev. Dr. Cecil Murray following the unrest continued to be highlighted in media stories. CRCC’s Rev. Dr. Najuma Smith-Pollard, the spiritual daughter of Rev. Murray, was interviewed for multiple stories.
FOX 11 LA looked back at 1992 and highlighted the way that Rev. Murray has passed along his legacy of community development and civic engagement work to others at the University of Southern California:
The Atlantic quoted Rev. Murray from 1992:
As Reverend Cecil Murray of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church put it, “Depravity and insanity always stun you. You just think that rational beings would at least be semi-rational.” He added, “To come back whitewashing something that the whole world witnessed, telling us that we in fact did not see brutalizing—this is a brutalization of truth.”
Najuma Smith-Pollard was interviewed by ABC News Radio. You can listen to the conversation here.
China Daily also quoted Smith-Pollard, putting the 1992 unrest in the context of more recent protests for racial justice.
She also contributed a reflection to the Jewish Journal’s collection of reflections:
“We don’t always know we are in a historic moment until the moment has passed and we’re looking back at history. I was a part of the 1992 “not-guilty” moment that became a movement spreading through congregations across LA. I was in the 100-plus seat choir loft of FAME Church, looking at thousands of people pouring into the sanctuary dazed, distraught, and in great disbelief. ‘Did we just witness four cops get off on beating a man nearly to death, for a traffic violation?’ A cloud of hopelessness hovered over the church that felt like ‘if a clear cut video could not get ‘us’ justice, we are doomed!’ (‘we’ being all of the nameless and unknown Rodney Kings from the black and brown community who had experienced similar brutality and worse at the hands of law enforcement).
“This was not the first uprising. LA had seen previous uprisings, but what was different would be the wave (a wave we still are experiencing) of community development, civic engagement and social justice efforts. At the helm of a great deal of this work was my Pastor and Father-in-ministry, Rev. Dr. Cecil L. ‘Chip’ Murray. He led the church and the community in centering what is now a thriving faith-based non-profit community development and civic engagement base in Los Angeles. Notably, The Center for Religion and Civic and The Cecil Murray Center were birthed out of the 1992 unrest and continue to support faith communities committed to leading in this space.”
To read more visit 30 Years Later: Remembering LA’s 1992 Unrest and Reimagining Social Action