May 25, 2020. A date that will live in our all minds as citizens of a crude system, spoke out against it and brought the issue to everyone’s doorstep across the globe. Tens of thousands would gather throughout Minneapolis, the death bed of an unarmed black man, whom the police killed over something as simple as forgery. George Floyd, whom a police officer held down to the ground on his neck, ignited a hidden bomb rooted deep within our country, bringing explosions of protests and demands for equal rights. still to rage between police and protestors rage on the streets and even social media platforms, anyone with a device knows Floyd’s story.
Reports of protests seemingly taking over cities flood news channels across the nation. Even local protests, happening in Oakland and San Francisco, have made headlines with lootings affecting businesses, with tear gas being shot out alongside rubber bullets toward protestors. But hitting closer to home are protests within Walnut Creek.
Starting May 31, with tweets coming even earlier about the idea, the city began trending on Twitter. Looters stormed downtown, breaking into businesses like Macy’s, Tilly’s, Vans, and several others in order to steal items. The police made several arrests and both the police and looters fired shots, with one looter injuring a young woman in her left arm. The city found itself under curfew, starting at 6 PM through 5 AM and in later days at 8 PM. After the looting, citizens ventured out to help clean up the downtown, including freshman Caitlyn Ellis. “I decided to go clean up downtown because it was the least I could do… I saw a lot of broken glass and hangers, clothes all ripped up.. I also saw a lot of people who started to board up their shops.. I think people have the right to get their voice heard but this does not include breaking into and stealing from shops.” The freshman went on to describe how the looting and protests did not correlate with one another, as so many did on Twitter as well.
Retired police officer Allison King also agreed to an interview with this magazine. She described the Floyd situation as, “Absolutely horrible… There are bad cops but there are a lot of wonderful officers, who enjoy their job. I don’t want my grandchildren to be adults and have to grow up with this… Something’s got to change, we can’t have this much hatred…” King served in the Patrol Division in east Oakland for 15 years. Her son, Kenny King Jr, a Las Lomas alumni, also expressed his concerns with the sudden issues: “Looking at the world, my view wasn’t really changed with her being an officer. But, I can never really identify as a white man, since my mother’s white and my father’s black, so I view it from a black perspective. Change happens when people come together… the world should go inside of a football locker room… notice how they come together in brotherhood and family regardless of differences… We are all Americans, but we want people to live these rights..”
On the week of June 1-7, protestors also demonstrated in Walnut Creek, all peaceful with limited incidents of tear gas and rubber bullets, occurring mainly when one group of protestors reached highway I-680 on Monday, June 1. On Friday, June 5, activists organized another protest to commemorate the death of Miles Hall, killed just over a year ago on June 2, 2019, and to support Hall’s family and call for action. Freshman Madeline Abellera attended the rally, stating, “I attended the rally because it’s important for us to show support…just posting on social media isn’t always enough and at rallies we can show our strength in numbers.”
Many did not get out and protest, instead using social media platforms to bring awareness to the Black Lives Matter movement, including freshman Brennan Dumesnil-Vickers, who tells us he supported the notion because of “the years and years of police murdering black people in this country… police should be held more accountable for their actions, maybe we start taking funds out of their pensions..” Additionally, Campolindo High School freshman Brandon Perry, says, “Active discrimination is the natural rule of society, the African Americans are trapped in poverty because of us, and the thought that ‘if you have enough money, you can get away with enough’.” Perry is active on Instagram, educating his followers on current events using posts from members in the community. He also mentioned using the ideas within his debate team to express his thoughts on the BLM movement.
These times offer the opportunity to bring awareness and change to the country – if individuals choose to speak out accordingly.