Three Calm Voices of the LA Riots: Olmos “Just Started Sweeping”

The Rev. Cecil “Chip” Murray took to the pulpit, Do Kim began building bridges, and Edward James Olmos picked up a broom

Rodney King's beating left the Rev. Cecil “Chip” Murray stunned, and the verdict in the ensuing trial left him gutted. There were 53 deaths, thousands of injuries, and millions of broken hearts.

LA Riots Page: Archive Video, Tweeting the Riots

"We were hoping the verdict would come back to those who perpetrated the evil: GUILTY! And, when the opposite came, nothing," said Murray, with First AME Church.

As the leader of the First AME Church pulled himself back together, those in the streets surrounding the sanctuary fell apart.

"Exploded, within the matter of less than an hour," said actor Edward James Olmos. "No police department officials, no government officials, no leaders of the community were saying anything."

So, Olmos said something: taking to the airwaves to ask Angelenos to stay home.
More than 2,000 miles from the chaos, another Angeleno watched from his dorm room.

"At Harvard, I was able to get Black and Korean students to table at 13 of our dorms,” said Do Kim, who was a student in April 1992. "We were able to raise about $5,000 to help both the Korean and African American communities."

Kim grew up amid Koreatown's violence.

"I left Koreatown because of the violence,"Kim said. "But it was the violence of the LA civil unrest that made me want to come back to Koreatown to be a community bridge builder."

Back on the west coast, on the day Marshall Law was to take over, on the day Rodney King would ask “if we could all get along,” Olmos picked up a broom.

"I went to sweep the parking lot," Olmos said. "I started walking right down here, down Adams and towards Western, sweeping. I just started sweeping, and I'm not quite sure what I was thinking."

A news crew captured the moment on tape and broadcast it. By mid-morning people were swapping guns for brooms.

"Anybody that was fighting before, just grabbed a broom and walked down the street and all of a sudden they were part of the healing process," Olmos said.

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