South Central, Los Angeles--The issue of African Americans being owed reparations for the crack epidemic is something that constantly weighs heavily on my mind, especially since returning home from college.
Lonzo Williams, of the World Class Wreckin’ Cru was asked on his podcast recently, if he believes the Black community ever recovered from the crack epidemic.
Lonzo replied, “No.”
“Gangs and Crack, it changed the game.”
As someone who has been impacted by the crack epidemic, I have seen and experienced first-hand the effects it had on our community.
The fact we know where it came from and how it got here, in my opinion is another reason for reparations for the Black community. We know it came through the CIA and we have a TV show about it! This ain’t no accident. For this to be a known fact and for us not to be pushing for reparations…all the brothers who went to jail, all the brothers who died, all the kids who ended up in foster care, all the mommas who ended up losing they kids. You still have dudes in jail behind that shit.Lonzo Williams
First and foremost, crack completely disrupted our community progress and the economic vitality of our neighborhoods.
Crack broke down our family dynamics with mothers and fathers strung out, leaving L.A’s inner city youth vulnerable to predators and violence.
Many kids, including myself, ended up in foster care.
Personally, I was placed into the foster care system when I was born, due to the fact my mother smoked crack while pregnant.
In return, I was born a drug exposed baby, almost dying at birth.
Although my father was a honorable man, coming to get me from the system after becoming aware that I was born, he was a functioning addict.
My father was deeply impacted and traumatized by the 80’s crack epidemic and growing up a young, Black-male during the 1960’s in Los Angeles.
My dad did have a father in his life growing up, but lost him at 12-years old due to violence. He was never the same, left alone to navigate his teen years in South Central by himself with my uncle and grandmother.
On my podcast Slauson Girl Speaks, I spoke with former crack dealer Freeway Rick on the crack epidemic as well as FX’s hit show Snowfall.
I found it bizarre that here we are as crack babies and those directly impacted and Hollywood was cashing in on our oppression (per usual).
Not only that, our inner city communities were left in shambles for decades and are now experiencing hyper-gentrification.
The same communities we were oppressed in, died in, cried and fought in are being rebuilt before our eyes and we are being priced out. Value is not seen in Black lives and futures, but placed more on reimagining our communities for profit and greed.
This country was built on the segregation, labor exploitation and state sanctioned violence of Black bodies.
Yet somehow, African-Americans were able to create and maintain our own businesses and forge a path of wealth and autonomy. Only to experience mobs of angry whites burning down our prosperous towns, or being crack bombed by our own government.
Photo: DENNIS COOK/AP
Video: Lonzo Williams