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Why Stay in L.A.? : What Children Say . . .

April 04, 1993

T hese children are in the fourth through eighth grades at Lorenz Hillside, a private school in Harbor City that draws students from throughout the South Bay: My family would like to move because of the riots, gangs and pollution. But I don't want to move because I have friends here, a good school and relatives. Sometimes, I get really scared because I think people are going to get hurt and I do not want my family or any family to get hurt. But I know everything will be good because people care enough. They would risk their lives for other people. . . .

--Rachael Vittorio, 10

*

I (have) lived here all my life and have good friends and memories, even though the area I live in is falling apart. I do fear the possibilities of getting hurt in many ways, but we always wanted to live where I am now and I wouldn't change that now, even if it isn't safe.

I have a hard time deciding if it is really worth the chance of losing my life over gang-related violence such as drive-by shootings and carjackings. Some people think teen-agers aren't affected in a serious way, but we are all affected in many ways.

If I leave I'd be leaving a lot behind. . . .

--Stephanie Belt, 13

*

I want to live (here) because my whole family lives (here) and despite all the riots and fires that were set, I still like L. A. because if you live here you learn how to survive and take care of yourself. And although the Rodney King verdict had a negative effect on L. A., everyone was talking about the stuff that's going on around us.

L. A. is a place where people are supposed to be able to find peace and friends without a lot of violence. . . . I don't really mind (L. A.) because it will teach me how to live.

--Christopher Russell, 14

*

If you really took a look at the overall picture of L. A., it's not so bad. Just because most of L. A. is very unsophisticated doesn't mean that the whole city is bad or the city is poor. If you look deep inside L. A., I think (it) is better than any other city.

I want to stay in L. A. because I look at it as a part of me, or I look at it as my family. And no one wants to be taken away from their family. Another reason I would like to stay in L. A. is because there's so much to see and learn in spite of gangs and violence. In my eyes, L. A. is a beautiful place and in spite of all the violence and poverty, I don't think anyone would be able to take that beauty away.

--Shan Carter, 13

*

I strongly believe that one day, it might be a little while, that we all (will) get together and help one another. But I think our biggest problem is working together. It probably has a lot to do with racism, and what happen(ed) in the riots. People need to realize that everybody can help in getting L. A. back together and that is especially why I want to stay. . . .

--Meena Chopra, 12

*

I have so many friends that I have known my whole life. I like having Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm and Magic Mountain nearby also. Even though there is crime, racism, earthquakes and fires, I don't want to run away from it all. We just have to try to make L. A. better.

--Naima Glenn, 11

*

I think that despite all of the problems that L. A. has, it is still a wonderful place to live in. I like to live in L. A. because it has lots of fun attractions and here you never get bored. There is always a place to go or something to do. I think it is important for people to stay in L. A. because if everyone left there would be nobody to try and make L. A. better. . . .

The riots have affected lots of people in L. A. They have left lots of people not only unemployed and homeless but with a feeling that in order to solve all of the problems of L. A., they must stay and work together. All of us must stay and work together!

--Alison Rice, 9

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