BY JESSE B. JOHNSON, JR.
It was gratifying to participate in the rally and peace march on Saturday, June 6, 2020 held in the Leimert Park area of Los Angeles, California in support of justice and equality, and to decry the senseless murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Breonna Taylor on March 13, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky and many other people of color by police throughout the country. Knowing that hundreds of thousands of others were doing the same across American and the world, including Hong Kong, Paris, London, Seoul, Rio De Janeiro, Berlin, Cologne, and Sydney, inspired me more. I proudly wore my 100 Black Men of America cap. Attorney John Mathews a recent inductee of the chapter that I founded in 2008 (100 Black Men of Long Beach, Inc.) also participated in the rally. We were recognized during the rally. John was also representing Alpha Kappa Psi Fraternity.
This successful event was organized by the “Devine 9” which is a collaboration of 9 major Internationally African American Greek lettered fraternities and sororities, and a consortium of local African American lawyers. Religion was infused in the rally presentations. Planners of the event indicated that other activities would follow in support of the Black cause. They went on to inform the massive audience of about four thousand that violence and destruction of our neighborhood would not be tolerated.
Some of the many notables included Los Angeles Chief of Police Michel Moore, L.A. Deputy Chief Regina Scott, L.A. Councilmen Curren Price, Jr., 9th district and Marqueece Harris-Dawson, 8th district in addition to State Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager.
Just prior to the 2 mile walk that also included runners, bike and motor cyclists, the participants were asked to remain silent with fist in the air for 8 minutes and 46 seconds which was the amount of time that Officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on George Floyd’s throat until he slowly died, even though he repeatedly begged and pleaded, “I can’t breathe”. I noticed L.A. Chief of Police Michel Moore, Deputy Chief Regina Scott and Councilman Curren Price, Jr. taking part in the silent tribute and raising of fists.
Flowers and candles in memory of Breonna Taylor lay just outside the gates of Leimert Park. She would have been 27 on June 5th. Muriel Bowser, Mayor of Washington DC is to be commended for renaming a street near the White House to Black Lives Matter Plaza and permanently painting the words “Black Lives Matter” on a street near the capital.
A change must be on the horizon!!!