On May 26, racial tensions at Jefferson High School in Los Angeles erupted into a brawl for the third time in six weeks. This time the LAPD was called in but the level of tension was so high they had to use batons and pepper spray to tamp down the violence.
These brawls are the latest incidents in on-going racial conflicts between Latinos and African-Americans in Los Angeles. They have the attention of the city’s mayor-elect, Antonio Villaraigosa, because he is Latino – the first Latino mayor of the city since 1872 – and in his campaign, he promised to be “mayor for all Los Angeles.”
Although he won’t take office until July 1, Villaraigosa went to Jefferson on the day after the violence.
He is reviewing the organization of the mayor’s office to determine if a special office for race and safety issues is needed to work with the Los Angeles Unified School District, which runs the 800-campus system.
“One of the most important responsibilities for the next mayor is to help bring this city together,” said Villaraigosa, 52, the son of a Mexican immigrant. “We cannot allow — in a city as diverse as this one — racial violence in our schools. We’ve got to have a zero tolerance for it.”
(Thanks to PR contributor Judy for the tip.)