The Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance is one group that has evolved over the years. It opened a few weeks before the riots erupted, advocating for the rights of Koreatown's Latino and Korean workers. In the years since, the group has expanded to include healthcare and such neighborhood improvements as housing and parks.
Koreatown is still one of the most densely populated areas in the county, but alliance director Alexandra Suh said there is less tension among the mix of Asian, Latino, black and white residents.
"There has been a cultural sea change when we talk to store owners," Suh said. "I think we have helped change attitudes, to let people know that this neighborhood is part of L.A."
Many believe that tensions had been stoked before the riots, when a Korean store owner shot and killed an unarmed 15-year-old black girl after an altercation over a bottle of orange juice.
Suh said attention was placed too much on store owners and not enough on workers. She said their rights were being openly flouted in Koreatown. After the riots, when the government compensated store owners who'd lost their businesses, the group successfully directed some of that money to dozens of workers who had also lost income.
Churches also led the way to bridging racial and ethnic divisions. First AME, under the leadership of then-pastor Cecil "Chip" Murray, formed an economic development program, FAME Renaissance, that is still operating.
"Out of '92 came the realization that the faith-based community was important and could actually do things," said Richard Flory, a sociology professor and director of research for USC's Center for Religion and Civic Culture, who spoke on a panel at a recent USC conference on the upheaval.
Public radio also joined the community efforts. KCRW launched its ongoing issues-oriented show, "Which Way, L.A.?" as an on-air round table for civic leaders, politicians and the public.
"I think it's safe to say that nobody was talking to anybody at that point, so we did provide an opportunity that people wouldn't have had otherwise," said host Warren Olney, who figured the show would last a month.
Some aspects of the dialogue have changed, Olney said. "I think people are much more aware of the diversity of the city … I think we all are. The riot was a kind of wake-up call."
One in a series of stories about the 1992 riots and how they reshaped Southern California.