LOS ANGELES -- As the city burned last week, as people lay dead in the violent streets, there was one unexpected silence:
Where were the gangs?
"They've pretty much stayed out of this," said Steven Valdivia, head of the anti-gang Community Youth Gang Services Agency.
But as the city struggles to rebuild after the uprising and looting, the writing on the wall -- the graffiti -- spells out ominous messages that leave the gangs anything but forgotten. "Crips and Bloods and Mexicans against LAPD" is sprayed on many walls.
The voices behind the messages are sending two signals they demand be heard: that some of the long-feuding gangs are trying to forge an alliance, and that they must be part of any rebuilding effort of the city.
"The story going around is that Bloods and Crips got together, put their colors together, said this isn't a Blood thing or a Crip thing, this is a black thing," said Leon Bing, author of "Do or Die," a book about five years spent living with gang members.
Ms. Bing is adamant about what needs to be done. "People should be approaching the real community leaders, the young men who are being perceived as gangsters. They should be as involved as any church leaders, any state senator, any congressperson," she said.