For second straight week, protestors march down State Street to denounce police brutality
For the second weekend in a row, people packed the streets with large signs and loud voices in protest of the murder of George Floyd and other victims of police brutality.
Organized by Kyle Brown, the rally began in De la Guerra Plaza, where community members spoke, and proceeded down State Street to Stearns Wharf. Once the crowd reached the dock, they knelt in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time the officer was kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck.
“There’s a message that’s sent and that message is a threat that says if you run in the wrong place, you’re gonna die,” Mr. Brown said before the march. “If you live in the wrong neighborhood, you’re gonna die. All it takes is $20 to go misplaced and we have a reason to kill you. We’re here today because we will not tolerate that in Santa Barbara.”
He addressed “deep-rooted issues of systemic racism, white supremacy and racial inequality” that need to be fixed, and said he was confident Santa Barbara can do that.
“Because we believe that although there are stories going around in the country that might say otherwise, we know that here in Santa Barbara, there are cops that do believe black lives matter, there are cops that do know how to de escalate situations, and for that reason, we want to do nothing to scorn those cops today,” Mr. Brown said.
Members of the Santa Barbara Police Department were present at the rally, including Chief Lori Luhnow. She informed the protestors of changes made within department policy, including the ban of the carotid restraint from the use of force policy, the development of a citizen review process and the support of restorative practices.
“I’ve been your chief for four years and my mission has been to build the hearts and minds of our officers and to make them guardians of our community,” Chief Luhnow said. “We are first peace officers, and that comes with an understanding that we are part of the community, not separate from it.”
She added that she and the officers stand in solidarity with the protestors against police brutality.
In addition to the support, the officers were there to help keep the rally and march under control.
Lt. Shawn Hill of the SBPD said that the department reached out to the event coordinators to be able to ensure the safety of all participants.
“It’s a pretty consistent method we’ve found together to keep everybody safe and let the protestors achieve their message, and that is to try to understand what they’re trying to accomplish, especially logistically, so we can arrange for street closures,” he said.
Ron Paris, a Santa Barbara resident and singer-songwriter, also spoke at the rally, and sang a song from his album “Soul Mate.” The song, “Blood Line,” addresses racism and violence.
“Let’s not just do this and do it and go home and have lunch,” Mr. Paris said. “Let’s do it and do it ‘til we don’t have to do it no more.”
Sabrina Ladd, a protestor, said she marches so that she can answer the question, “What side of history are you going to be on?” She added that as a white-passing, cisgendered latina, she has a lot of privilege.
“It is 100% on me to make sure that I’m using my privilege and my voice to pave the way for other people who don’t have the same privileges and the same voice,” Ms. Ladd said. “That’s how we get equality — when the people with the privilege make sure they’re paving the way for others.”
Ms. Ladd is expecting, along with another protestor, Jenny Tucker.
“When we talk to our kids about this time, we want to be able to tell them that we did something for the movement instead of just sitting by,” she said.