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Youth-led ‘Black Lives Matter’ rally draws hundreds to Mount Soledad

An estimated 400 protesters marched down Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach on Wednesday showing support for Black Lives Matter.
Organizers Yasmine Gooley (l), 18 and Jaya Rivers (r), 17 marched down Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach on Wednesday with a group of peaceful protesters. The group began at Kate Sessions Park and after listening to various speakers the group then marched down towards Crystal Pier and then looped back to the park.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The protest of mostly people under 25 called for racial justice

One of the teenage organizers of a protest on Mount Soledad was not yet old enough to vote, but she and her friends drew hundreds of young people to Kate Sessions Park Wednesday for a unified call for racial justice.

About 400 people, most of them under 25, gathered for a rally where they called for an end to racism in policing and every other aspect of American life. The event began at the park, where a band performed an acoustic set and speakers called for respect for Black lives.

Afterward, the protesters began a march through the surrounding neighborhoods.

The organizers of the event, Yasmine Gooley, 18, and Jaya Rivers, 17, said that if the government ignores their generation’s calls for justice, the young people will make themselves heard at the ballot box.

An estimated 400 protestors marched down Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach on Wednesday showing support for Black Lives Matter.
On Wednesday an estimated 400 protestors supporting Black Lives Matter return back to Kate Sessions Park.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

“They’re trying to make us forget that we are bigger than them, and we have been scared of them for too long,” Jaya said. “We’ve been scared of those fools in Washington (D.C.) for way too long, but the truth is that they’re scared of us — and they don’t want us to know that.”

As evidence, they pointed to the size of the crowd that gathered for the protest. They said they believe most of the people found out about the event from a flyer the two had circulated on social media.

Gooley said she had heard too much about the injustice Black people face in the United States, and when George Floyd died in May after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, she knew that it was time to get involved.

“I know that I have the power to bring people together, and I wanted to just have a day where we could all preach oneness and appreciate each other and spread the true idea of love in all of us,” she said.

Speakers at the event said it would be a mistake for the people in power to dismiss recent rallies and protests for racial justice as a flash in the pan or some form of performance art, because their movement is neither.

“If I fall down or she falls down, or someone else falls down, there’s gonna be another person to take our spot,” said speaker Joey Moss. “There’s going to be another person who is going to stand up and say something, so if they think it’s going to stop, it’s not. We’re in for the marathon. I love long distance.”

An estimated 400 protesters marched down Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach on Wednesday showing support for Black Lives Matter.
An estimated 400 protestors marched down Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach on Wednesday showing support for Black Lives Matter. The group began at Kate Sessions Park and after listening to various speakers the group then marched down towards Crystal Pier and then looped back to the park.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

After the speakers, Moss took up a bullhorn and rattled off a series of rules for the march: Put your hands in the air and make an X with your arms if you see someone who is hurt to summon the nurses on hand. Ignore any agitators. Don’t engage law enforcement officers. Be nice to the homeless if you encounter them.

With nearly everyone wearing face coverings, the crowd began to march down Lamont Street to Garnet Avenue and into Pacific Beach.

Holding aloft signs with slogans including “Only love can drown out hate” and “White silence is violence,” the crowd marched down a lane of Lamont Street while police on motorcycles managed the traffic ahead of them.

As they passed, drivers honked and cheered, and people came out of their homes to watch or wave their own “Black Lives Matter” signs from their doorsteps.

More protests and demonstrations, organized by various community groups on social media, are expected to take place around the county throughout the rest of the week and into the weekend.


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