In the small bedroom community of Los Alamitos, more than 100 protesters gathered Tuesday, June 2, to add to the millions of voices nationwide decrying police brutality.
Organized by teenagers, the event was held outside Los Alamitos High. Superintendent Andrew Pulver said the school district did not play a role in the protest or know who coordinated it.
“It’s been upsetting to see that our government and certain people are ignoring that black lives matter,” said Cheyenne San Miguel, 21, who lives in Cypress. “We want an end to racism and injustice.”
Protests around Southern California – and the country – were sparked by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African American man heard pleading for air as a Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee on his neck.
In honor of Floyd’s final words, the crowd chanted, “I can’t breath.”
Chole Zimpelman, Class of 2020, showed up to urge people to “stop and take a second to reflect on what’s happening.”
“Protesting sheds light on issues that people may normally be able to ignore,” Zimpelman said.
Some “took a knee,” a silent protest inspired by professional football player Colin Kaepernick.
Passing cars seemed receptive to the messages on handmade signs, honking in agreement.
Social media posts advertising the protest said: “This event is meant for teenagers to have a chance to speak out for what they think is right and wrong about this nation!”
In a statement, the Los Alamitos Police Department issued a stern warning in advance: “We will not tolerate any acts of violence, looting, arson or vandalism that would endanger the public or any of our officers who are trying to protect the public and those exercising these rights.”
Police officers periodically cruised by in their cars, but rarely got out to interact with the protesters.
In Los Angeles, Santa Monica and other cities, protests have been overshadowed by rioting.
Worried that his nearby barbershop could be vandalized, Edgar Murguia observed the protest from across the street. “My concern as a small business owner is my livelihood being taken away,” he said. “I’m barely making it out of the coronavirus closure. We’re trying to recover from that.”
Organizers emphasized on social media that participants should remain peaceful and take precautions against the spread of the virus.
Those recommendations were adhered to, with almost everyone wearing a face mask.
Source: Orange County Register