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The sad legacy of Watts: 50 years later, little has changed

To the editor: Thank you for your thoughtful articles on the 1965 Watts riots. I have a unique memory of those days, so long ago. ("Watts riots remembered: 50 years after the unrest," multi-part series)

I was 12 years old and had recently moved with my family to Los Angeles from Salt Lake City. We could see the glow of the flames in the distance from our apartment.

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I asked my dad what was burning and why. He struggled to explain, finally saying that black people were angry and burning down their own neighborhood. He left it at that, and we settled into being in Los Angeles. We lived in a predominantly white and middle-class neighborhood.

The Times' articles brought back the feeling of not understanding what was happening. Now, I have a greater understanding of the injustice, anger and rage that reached a boiling point in August 1965.

The saddest thing has been to realize that the conditions then are much the same now: There's injustice, police disrespect and brutality, lack of affordable housing and jobs, decades of grinding poverty and more. So much time has passed, and there has been so little fundamental change in our society.

Sherry Hill-Christie, San Diego

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