Photos: Nadin and Tom Abbott
Nov. 27, 2014 (San Diego) Marchers came out for a second night in a row to protest the Ferguson, Missouri, Grand Jury Decision. This time there were over 100 marchers, who took to San Diego streets.
The group had activists from Uhuruu Solidarity Movement, Southeast, INPDUM, Activist San Diego, United Against Police Terror and Occupy joined in.
The march was not a short one. In fact, it probably was one of the longest in San Diego city history. The march started in City Heights, going down University, to North Park and then turned to Normal Heights. The circuit then went up to El Cajon Boulevard and back to City Heights to the Officer Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park where it started.
This march took over four hours, and it took protesters over three interstate ramps, that were guarded by at least 20 CHP officers, while the march was escorted by numerous motor bike officers from San Diego PD, with some cruisers, and officers on foot.
The march also disrupted Metropolitan Transit System busses, who at times were held behind marchers, or turned around to take other routes.
It also went though gentrified areas of North Park, where diners were treated to demonstrators walking by their sidewalk dining experience.
So why are people doing this? Why are people marching up and down streets and major thoroughfares to chants such as “Hands up, don’t shoot,” or “no justice, no peace, no racist police?” There are good reasons, and the decision by the Grand Jury in Missouri only amplified the feelings from communities of color. The justice system, to be blunt, is best-case unhelpful, worst case, stacked against them.
As many of the residents have told Reporting San Diego in the past, they are simply tired of police violence against their community. They are tired of racial profiling and being stopped because they are people of color. Enforcement, they feel, is done in a way that is meant to suppress them, and their community.
They are tired of being stopped by police officers with no cause.
Yesterday, many of the young people who participated were angry because Cleveland Police shot and killed a 12 year old for holding a toy gun. They do not see this as an exception, but as a rule. Their community is targeted.
Before the march, Cathy Mendonca told the marchers that this was going to stay peaceful. She also told people who had cameras to have them at the ready, and to have both older people and people with children in the middle of the march. (There were people even with strollers, and young children on skateboards.)
The march’s objective, according to Mendonca, was to “voice that police intimidation will not stop them.”
Reporting San Diego talked with Chris McKay, who was ecstatic about taking the I-15 the previous night. He said that they took it up to the edge and perhaps a little beyond the previous night. It was part of a national day of action where interstates were taken over in several cities, including Los Angeles and Portland, not just San Diego.
He also said that during the march on the second night they were not intending to do get on the freeways. They knew that the police would be ready, and that keeping demonstrators safe was important.
That said, the CHP closed both the 15 and University and 15 and El Cajon onramps, as well as the 805 at El Cajon Boulevard. Even though the marchers did not attempt to get on the on-ramps they were effectively closed.
We also asked what about beyond the streets? How were they going about changing attitudes among elected officials? He said that he has gone to City Council many a times and they just don’t listen.
One of the chants said, “What is the solution, San Diego, City Heights, Ayotzinapa, Mexico, the United States: Revolution.” There is a feeling starting to take shape, not just in other countries, but also here, in our own backyard, that change will not come by just voting and going about our daily lives. What form it will take, is not at all clear.
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