Hundreds of supporters of Black Lives Matter Long Beach gathered at Long Beach State’s Walter Pyramid Monday to caravan from Long Beach to Los Angeles in honor of George Floyd and all victims of police brutality.
Black Lives Matter, along with several guest speakers, musicians and members of various religions, held a memorial service in Downtown Los Angeles that included several thousand attendees along with four caskets representative of all of the people of color killed by police and white supremacy.
“We don’t want it to take moments of watching knees in necks for people to feel a calling or feel moved to act,” said Dawn Modkins, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Long Beach. “Think about what you can do everyday to disrupt white supremacy.”
About a hundred cars met outside the Walter Pyramid around 8 a.m. and the group grew to multiple thousand participants as the event transitioned from a caravan to a funeral service and finally a protest that wrapped up close to 5 p.m.
Speakers, musicians and spoken-word artists during the service stood on a stage located on the bed of a large truck, and the crowd gathered in front, holding signs and chanting, filling an entire intersection.
Various speeches were given by those with loved ones killed by police, and an interfaith coalition of religious leaders offered blessings, songs and words of solidarity.
Directly following the service, members of BLM Los Angeles led a march throughout Downtown LA to peacefully protest police brutality. Beginning and ending at city hall, they marched for several blocks and through a tunnel.
During the march, chants of “No justice, no peace,” and “George Floyd, say his name,” reverberated up and down the city blocks in defiance of the police presence. One shirtless protester near the front directed traffic around the throngs of people.
On the periphery of the protest, food venders sold Tijuana-style street hotdogs and agua frescas in 85-degree heat.
During the march, several cars honked in support of the movement and some people standing in storefronts even handed out free waters and sports drinks.
Co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, Melina Abdullah, spoke on the current struggles of the Black community.
“We have to be unapologetic in saying ‘Black lives matter’ when someone comes with that ‘all lives’ bullshit,” she said. “We are going to reimagine and build new systems of community safety.”
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Although police officers on motorcycles made their presence known while the streets were blocked off, there was no interaction between protestors and the police, and the protest remained peaceful.
A leader with BLMLA said they will be meeting at city hall every day until their demands are met.