Similar to the way protests inspired by the death of George Floyd have popped up in communities and neighborhoods all over the nation and the world, a protest on Saturday, June 6 drew roughly 200 people during its peak at the corner of Winchester and Murrieta Hot Springs roads.
The organized protest featured a vocal and diverse crowd of residents and at one point, they stopped and gathered around to tell stories and make statements about why they were there.
“It’s such a beautiful day, you guys have been doing so well staying out of the street.” one of the organizers said to the crowd gathered. “Basically, I’m up here to speak on why we’re all here. Along with the death of George Floyd and all the police brutality that goes on, I wanted to speak about what goes on here in Murrieta because it does not stop in the suburbs.
“When you have an experience with a cop, my black people here, they automatically intimidate us. When they stop a black person here, ‘Where are you going? Where are you coming from?’ Before ‘can I see your license?’ There could be no reason at all, they can just see you and say ‘we need to stop them, there’s a black man in the car.’ And that’s a problem.”
She spoke about the wide range of ethnicities that were in attendance at the protest.
“It’s very mixed here, but we have a predominantly white neighborhood,” she said. “But they are here with us in solidarity and that’s beautiful.”
That point wasn’t lost on Robale Wolkeba.
“Especially in an area like this,” he said. “You will see it in other areas, such as San Diego, Los Angeles, but places like this … yes, this is nice. People are more aware now, they are contributing more, I love where this is heading toward. We just need a little bit more of this, unfortunately, but it’s going to get to the vision that we have sent for this country. The world, actually, because you see it happening not just here, but 18 other countries outside of the United States, so I love that.”
He said the turnout and support is bittersweet.
“Like my son says, ‘Let this be my last protest,’ because we’ve done this many times,” Wolkeba said.
Aliyah Campbell said she was out there protesting for herself and for her daughter.
“When she gets older I want to be able to tell her that I stood up for her, I stook up for people like her,” she said. “To make sure that I’m on the right side of history. It’s been so awesome to see so many people come out and support because you just feel a lot of love.”
Campbell said the emotions that she’s felt over the past week can sometimes be overwhelming.
“The past week has just been a range of emotions,” she said. “All of them, sometimes all at once.”
Campbell’s friend Jayda Reed said she was proud to be there.
“It’s good to see all these people supporting each other,” she said. “And hearing their voices, because everyone’s voice speaks loud and you can make a change.”
De’Ondea Young said the past week has been draining for her.
“I’m here because I want to see justice for the many lives that have been lost,” she said. “It’s sad to think about that it could possibly be my father or brother or even my mom or cousins.
“I’ve been emotionally drained for like a week — angry, sad, happy to see everyone out here supporting. It’s also draining just trying to educate everyone on what’s happening and how we’re just trying to be equal and demand justice for everyone.”
Amanda Vincent said she just wants justice.
“It’s a really great experience to be able to protest and knowing that we’re out here making a chance and making a difference,” she said. “Growing up in Temecula, it’s very predominantly white, and it’s taken a toll on me and my friends. There’s a lot of microaggressions that goes on, so, it’s really great to see that a lot of people, of all different colors, all different races are coming out to support the Black Lives Matter movement and get justice for the lives that have been lost to police brutality.
“It’s honestly so sickening to see that we’re still dealing with that in 2020. I honestly just want to make a difference and just voice my opinion, especially as a black woman in America. I just want to get justice for my people.”
Floyd’s death was caught in a viral video showing 44-year-old Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressing a knee on Floyd’s neck as he pleaded for air during an arrest.
As onlookers begged for the officer to back down, Chauvin continued pinning Floyd for eight minutes and 46 seconds until he became unresponsive, the video shows.
Chauvin and three other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department on Tuesday. Chauvin was arrested and has been charged with second-degree murder. Three other officers have also been charged with other crimes in the case.
Jeff Pack can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.