Twenty-seven years ago, on the night of April 29, 1992, my life changed forever.
Before that night, I was working the late shift at a home for people with major mental illness. That’s where I was when I turned on the TV to watch Dennis Miller’s show. Yeah, that Dennis Miller. Yeah, he had a liberal talk show back then. I liked it.
The rest of the night changed my life for good, propelling me into political life.
Miller’s’ face was visibly ashen, even on the cheap screen, and he didn’t tell jokes. He was shocked. Los Angeles was in violent civil uprisings after a jury had acquitted Sgt. Stacey Koon and officers Theodore Briseno, Laurence Powell and Timothy Wind of using excessive force against Rodney King.
My own face went ashen, in turn. Along with much of America, I had seen the video of those officers beating King. As a white woman, it had not occurred to me then that anyone would conclude that the beating was OK.