Janet Zappala, Edwin Calderon
Community activists and leaders in Compton held a rally against hate crimes. They're outraged over what they call "terrorism" in their neighborhoods. Janet Zappala reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Feb. 2, 2013.
In the wake of recent racially motivated crimes in Compton, authorities and community leaders gathered Saturday for a "Rally Against Hate Crimes."
Held a day after Black History Month began, the event was meant to bring together Latino and African Americans especially.
The president of the NAACP's Compton branch, which organized the rally, told NBC4 she wants to avoid a "street race war" and make sure residents of a changing Compton understand that authorities are addressing recent crimes.
"It's about inclusion," President Paulette Simpson-Gipson said at Saturday's rally at the Compton Courthouse. "It's about giving our young people opportunities to make a difference."
The noon rally was also supported by Compton Mayor Eric Perrodin and Project Islamic Hope director Najee Ali, an outspoken community activist.
Diana Sanchez, president of the Community United for Compton, said people need to unite against crime regardless of race.
"We all live together, worship together … need to build our community together," Sanchez said.
The most recent attack happened on Dec. 31, 2012, when Mexican-American gang members allegedly targeted an African-American woman, her children and a male visiting their home. One victim was beaten with a pipe, and the men allegedly threw a bottle through the family home's window, demanding the residents leave the neighborhood.
The incident was made public last week when the two suspects were arrested.
"It's being investigated aggressively … as with all hate crimes," said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Division Chief James Lopez.