About 150 people — mostly recent high school graduates, mixed with families and children — demonstrated outside the Palos Verdes Estates police station Monday, June 1, in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and against police brutality.
The peaceful gathering was one of multiple that have occurred across Southern California and the nation since George Floyd, a black man, died when a white police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes in Minnesota on Memorial Day. While this and many other daytime protests have remained peaceful, nightfall in cities around the U.S. has been marked by violence, looting and damaged buildings.
The group in Palos Verdes Estates posted up across the street from the station, as police officers and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies stood by, said to Police Department Sgt. Steve Barber.
“Judging by what we saw, anything can happen,” Barber said. “But this group is very peaceful. They are exactly what protesting is supposed to be about.”
The people in the crowd held signs and chanted, enlivening the typically quiet intersection at Malaga Cove Plaza.
Miya Stephanoff, 18, from Redondo Beach, said she attended the protests because she knew she needed to do more than post on social media to effect change. She also noted the “privileged life” she has had growing up in the South Bay and not being a person of color.
“Signing petitions and reposting on social media is not enough,” Stephanoff said. “We need to actually voice our beliefs and make a change.”
Stephanoff and her friends, who also attended the protest, said they didn’t fault those who rioted and looted across LA County the last few nights.
Vida Luna, 19, said she would try to prevent someone from looting, but she didn’t think it should be condemned.
“I think it’s important we don’t vilify rioters,” Luna said. “In order to make change we have to make noise. If people aren’t listening when you’re speaking, you have to scream.”
Alice Shippee, meanwhile, brought her 9-year-old son, Zen, to the demonstration — both as a learning experience and as a chance to express himself about injustice, she said.
“We’ve been talking to them a lot about what they’ve been hearing in the news and we want to make them feel like they are empowered to do something,” Shippee said, “to have a voice and hold a sign and not be afraid to speak out.”
She said it’s been a challenge to explain the images on the television lately, so she translated it into terms her son could understand.
“We learned this expression about anger,” she said. “Anger is a sign that our boundaries have been crossed. And this is a community’s national anger that has been there for a long time. I think (children) understand what it means to feel anger.”
via PV News