Are You Ready?

September 3, 1970
1970 HFP, Volume 2 Number 17

On the morning of Saturday, August 29, some 30,000 Latinos marched to Laguna Park in East Los Angeles to protest the war in Vietnam. When the marchers reached the park, an LAPD SWAT team of more than 500 officers began to sweep the area, swinging batons and firing tear gas grenades. Panic and a riot ensued. Businesses were vandalized, nearly 200 participants were arrested, hundreds were injured, and three were dead, including local TV news reporter Ruben Salazar who was killed by a tear gas projectile. The riot would become known as the Battle of Los Angeles.

The following Wednesday, September 2, a small group who identified themselves as Communists staged a demonstration in another East L.A. park to protest the LAPD's handling of the August riot. A group of Jesus People went to the demonstration to distribute the Hollywood Free Paper and share Jesus. A fight ensued between local residents and the Communist group, and in the chaos one of the Jesus People, Tom Wolfe, pictured at right, was beaten by residents. When police asked Wolfe if he wanted his attackers arrested, he replied "No, man, leave those people alone. They're on our side. They misunderstood why I'm here." The HFP printed the photo of Wolfe, with his right eye swollen shut and a line of stitches above his eyebrow, along with our article on the incident. Word on the street that there might be further protests, and the possibility of another riot, prompted the HFP to ask all local Jesus People to join together in fasting and prayer for a spirit of peace in the community.

With this edition, singer-songwriter Larry Norman began writing a regular column in the HFP titled "As I See It." In the midst of all the violence swirling around Los Angeles and the world, his first column was an urgent cry for brotherhood. "We must get together, and right now," Norman wrote. "But if our brotherhood is going to work, it must be sincere, and truly a brotherhood. If the world is to be salvaged, we must be true brothers."

Our switchboard page, the Wall, listed Jesus houses, coffeehouses, Bible raps and concerts in California, Arizona, Hawaii, Oregon and Missouri. A "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" festival in L.A.'s scenic Malibu Canyon was being planned for the entire Thanksgiving weekend from Wednesday through Sunday. In the works for the festival was a daily health food feast, an in-depth study of the Gospel of Mark, and nearly continuous Jesus music -- "bring sleeping bags and grubby clothes." Our brothers at the Free University in Hollywood were planning a series of Friday night potluck dinners and Bible study classes on the subject "Jesus and the People."

Dale Yancy created a thought-provoking front-cover cartoon, "If you were arrested for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?" Another brother, Jack Wiens, Jr., created the cheerful "Smile - God Loves You" poster for our back cover, pictured at right.

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