San Anselmo gathers in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement

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Emma Rose Neal

A protestor preaches to the crowd about racial injustice.

On Saturday, May 30, hundreds of Marin protesters gathered to march in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement and to mourn the death of George Floyd, an innocent black man who was recently murdered by police. 

Floyd lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the time of his death on May 25. Arrested for reportedly paying for cigarettes with a counterfeit twenty dollar bill, an eight minute video taken by bystanders shows Floyd’s death, as well as the events leading up to it. 

Towards the end of the video, Floyd is seen face down on the concrete with the knee of Minneapolis Police Department officer Derek Chauvin on the back of his neck, restricting his ability to breathe. Floyd says, “I can’t breathe,” while Chauvin continues to put pressure on his windpipe for eight minutes and forty-six seconds, according to the report filed against Chauvin. In the background, two women say, “You’re gonna kill him.” The three other officers on the scene stood idle while Chauvin slowly killed Floyd. Lastly, Floyd’s limp body is loaded into the ambulance, already dead. 

Since Floyd’s death, protesters across the country have raised their voices, demanding justice for Floyd and countless innocent black Americans murdered by police. In some cities, like Washington D.C., riots have continued for almost a week, according to the Washington Post. 

Jolie Jacobs, Drake High’s administrative assistant, posted an event on her Facebook with the title, “Walk for Justice”. A peaceful march would occur From the San Anselmo Town Hall to the San Rafael Police Department. The demonstration had an estimated turnout of fifty, but quickly escalated as 300 people came to protest.

“It was a very empowering feeling to see such a large turnout and such a relief to see our community stand against racism. But the biggest take away for me was the reminder of how much work there is to do as anti-racists,” Jacobs remarked. 

Ava Stephens, a Drake sophomore, was also encouraged by the number of people who showed up.

“I was really surprised by how many people came and I felt proud of our community for showing up,” Stephens said. 

Shortly after 4 p.m. on May 30, hundreds gathered on the San Anselmo Town Hall lawn wearing masks and equipped with hand sanitizer as a precaution against COVID-19. Jacobs gave an introductory speech declaring, “White silence equals violence!” The crowd cheered in unison with each statement demanding racial justice. 

Jacobs announced the march route from Town Hall across Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to Bank Street, then Greenfield Avenue over to 4th Street, D street, and finally, the San Rafael Police Department. 

At first, the crowd marched in compliance with the directions; however, after realizing the route went through the back roads and off the main streets, some protestors were angry. “They’re trying to silence us!” declared an unknown leader of the march back to Town Hall as they redirected the crowd to the main streets where police were not prepared to stop the flow of traffic. 

While marching down Greenfield Avenue, the peaceful protestors were met with controversy, which is expected in an area like Marin, which tops the list of least diverse counties in the country, according to the Marin Independent Journal. A family stood outside their home that paraded a Blue Lives Matter flag. National Rifle Association stickers covered their heavy-duty trucks. “All lives matter!” proclaimed what seemed to be the mother of the household. The passing crowd chanted, “No justice, no peace, no racist police!” while passing the house, and some revealed their middle fingers to the family. 

At the San Rafael Police Department, the crowd seemed larger than when the march started. Protestors surrounded the steps to the building, leaving space in the middle for speakers. People of all ages spoke to the crowd with a plethora of opinions. 

Some championed that all police officers are evil and inherently racist. In response, some in the crowd shouted “No!”, believing that not all cops are corrupt; the justice system in the United States is just designed in favor of white people.  

Others stated that we don’t need to worry about race issues in Marin because the county is mostly white. Consequently, people reminded the crowd of the black community in Marin City without a grocery store, and the Latino population segregated into San Rafael’s Canal.  

With more and more opinions in opposition to the other, people publicly bickered creating restlessness among the crowd. Groups began moving to the planned route back to Town Hall when two women ushered the crowd onto 4th Street. 

“By the time we got to the SRPD I really felt how much the event had taken on its own life. I didn’t want to see it turn nasty anywhere, but I didn’t feel like any of it was mine to control. People needed a place to express their support for people of color,” Jacobs said in response to the change in route. 

Previously, the roads were blocked off by police cars allowing for the safe passage of protesters. On the journey back, however, police were stationed at a different route. Therefore, where protesters marched, cars slowly trailed behind, trying to get to their ultimate destinations. 

Some drivers honked in agreement with the movement, unbothered by the traffic they were suddenly stuck in. Others were clearly irritated, throwing their hands up as if saying, “What the hell?! Get out of the road!” 

The congestion of people combined with cars ultimately resulted in a Porsche hitting a protestor

San Anselmo is one of many Bay Area cities gathering to mourn the loss of George Floyd. Two protests have already occurred in Oakland. On June 2, Marin City gathered for a peaceful protest. On June 3, San Francisco did the same. 

Like the attitude of many other protestors, Stephens, after the protest, stated, “I wish I could do more to help.” 

Including attending protests, one can do so much to support the movement against police brutality. One can call or write letters to local and state representatives to demand not only justice, but change. One can donate to organizations fighting for racial justice such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Southern Poverty Law Center, Color of Change, Dream Defenders, Black Lives Matter, and many, many more. 

 

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