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Podcast / October 03 2023

Negotiating a truce to end gang violence in Los Angeles

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Gang violence in Los Angeles surged dramatically in the 1980s. Over a seven-year period beginning in 1985, more than 4,000 people died from gang-related clashes. That’s more than the death toll in some high-profile conflicts around the world, including the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

This episode looks at the 1992 Watts truce, a peace agreement between rival gangs in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. It had a significant impact: Gang-related murders reportedly dropped 44 percent in Watts in the first two years after the treaty was signed.

Aqeela Sherrills grew up in Watts and was one of the truce’s key negotiators. He is currently the co-founder and leader of the Community-Based Public Safety Collective, and recently partnered with the White House on preventing gun violence. He shared his story with Negotiators host Jennifer Williams.

The Negotiators is a collaboration between Doha Debates and Foreign Policy.