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LA considers a resolution condemning the 1943 Zoot Suit Riots

A resolution condemning the 1943 Zoot Suit Riots, days of violence and attacks against Mexican American community during a dark chapter in Los Angeles’ history, will be considered Friday by the City Council.

The resolution includes an apology for the treatment of Mexican Americans during the racial turmoil of 80 years ago.

Councilman Kevin de León will introduce the resolution at Friday’s City Council meeting as part of Zoot Suit Heritage Week, which concludes Friday.

The attacks began on May 31, 1943, when a group of servicemen and Mexican American youth wearing zoot suits fought in downtown Los Angeles. Three days later the violence escalated into a series of attacks against the Mexican American community, including the neighborhood of Boyle Heights.

More than 50 people were injuries, and more than 500 Mexican Americans arrested.

Sailors stripped the victims of their zoot suits and burned their clothes. Later that year, U.S. servicemen were banned from the area and the council at the time backed a resolution — never codified as a law –that barred zoot suits in the city.

The Zoot Suit Riots were commemorated by a Broadway play in the 1970s that became a film starring Edward James Olmos in 1981.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in May also approved a motion to denounce the Zoot Suit Riots.

City News Service contributed to this report.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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