Dec. 13, 2014 (San Diego) By the time the crowds started to arrive at the fountain at Balboa Park, crowds had already taken to the streets in Washington, DC and New York City. This is part of the million-man march called to raise awareness about civil rights. What we are seeing is a second civil rights movement taking shape, and it’s agenda, at least locally, involves in making sure the police are held accountable, and the police stop racially profiling people’s of color.
The march had plenty of people of different backgrounds and skin color. It was… a rainbow coalition, as one of the speakers called it. Another speaker Dr. Wendy Craig, the only white person to address the gathering, addressed the majority community. She told this community “one thing we have to understand as white people is that we have two Americas, one America for us and one America for African people and oppressed people.”
She also said that they were the ones to lead, and whites had to follow. She also said, “we cannot pretend we share the same fate, because we don’t.” To the matter at hand, every 26 hours a person of color is gunned down in the streets. That is one of the most dramatic statistics, where we can see the difference.
The other is wealth. “Whites have on average 22 times the wealth as African people in this country.” This means that for every $100,000 that a white person has in assets, an African American has $1700 in assets.
She added that “we have to understand that we are living on the pedestal of white power at the expense of the rest of the world.”
Her message was directed at the members of the majority society in the crowd, and beyond. It was one received well by most participants.
Sabrina Harland was born in a military base in Panama, so she spent part of her childhood abroad. At the age of 10 she moved to Michigan. Her first day in school as a ten year old, “I was told I was a black b**tch and I was punched in the face.” This was a wake up call to her experience as a person of color in the United States.
Harland has never talked about the different types of overt and covert racism that she’s experienced because she was told “black women have attitude.” So she has always been very passive.
The events in both Ferguson, Missouri and Ayotzinapa, Guerrero “have shaken me to the core.” In her mind there is a connection going beyond our borders. She also said that it is that people “who have no experience living in a community with black people in general and not mixing with a crowd of different races have so much to say about our lives.” In her mind these people really have no idea.
Professor Jerry Toulsi of San Diego City College reminded people on the matter of the protest at the Inauguration, that while people have a right to protest, the staffer for Lorie Zaft needs an education, not to be dismissed. But she still has a right to have an opinion. Though he suggested a copy of the Constitution is in order, so she can read it. No, she does not need to read the whole document, just the First Amendment.
More critically though, he also spoke of why District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has disqualified herself from ever investigating a use of force incident by any law enforcement by any law enforcement in San Diego. Toulsi went in depth into one of the demands of many of the demonstrators. This is the appointment of a special prosecutor every time there is a use of force, especially lethal force, in the County.
He also said that while Mike Brown, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner are dead, “they are the catalyst for change.” He added that “our voice will be heard in City Hall. And I know that Mayor (Kevin) Faulconer will receive leaders of this coalition on Monday or Tuesday and he will explain what he is doing about police community relations.” He will have to say how the City of San Diego will avoid what has happened in Ferguson, Missouri, Cleveland, Ohio and New York.
These were the strong voices of people, both old and young, that came this day. We are including videos that we did not quote from, because they are strong, and speak for themselves.
After the march left, they stopped the traffic at Laurel and 163. They also engaged in more civil disobedience at the trolley tracks down C Streets, and did a die in in front of NBC. In the end they also went into Horton Plaza.
According to San Diego Police there were no arrests, and the march remained peaceful.
Videos, first XJavier McGregor from Uhuru
Infinite from Af3irm San Diego
Editor’s Note: Story updated with the correct name, thank you to Catherine Mendonca.
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