Black Lives Matter demonstrations focus on racism

Jun 11, 2020 | Uncategorized

By Douglas W. Motley
Senior Writer

Last week’s Black Lives Matter rallies in Blue Jay and Twin Peaks attracted hundreds of mountain residents, eager to demonstrate their opposition to racism and oppression of persons of color.

A crowd estimated by local law enforcement officials at 450 to 500 persons showed up on the sidewalk outside the Rim of the World Unified School District headquarters in Blue Jay at noon on Friday, June 5 with signs, banners and chants, requesting passersby to join with them in their effort to put an end to racism and discrimination of minorities once and for all.

The afternoon began with a procession of law enforcement vehicles along Highway 189 through the community of Blue Jay. Hundreds of motorists rounding the corner of Highway 189 and North Bay Road honked their horns and raised their fists in support of the three-hour-long event. Only a few gave a thumbs down or finger up expression of disapproval.

As motorists passed, spontaneous chanting erupted with messages ranging from “No justice, no peace” to “I can’t breathe,” “Stop the violence, stop the hate” and “Don’t shoot.”

The first-of-its-kind event in the mountain area was organized by local residents Ava and Hannah McDonald, with the full support of Rim school district officials and the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Station. “We are doing this to show our support for Black Lives Matter and to join with our community in standing up for equity,” Ava McDonald said, adding, “Racism is an American issue and a global issue. It’s important that the mountain community stands up against racism.”

“It’s wonderful to see a community gathering of so many caring persons,” said longtime Lake Arrowhead resident Jo Bonita Rains, who compared the Black Lives Matters goal of directing love and support toward African-Americans facing racial injustice to the Rotary Club’s 4-Way Test: 1. Is it the truth? 2. Is it fair to all concerned? 3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships? 4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

“There is a good amount of support for the Black Lives Matter movement from Rim students, teachers and administrators,” said Louise Bill, who graduated from Rim High School last Thursday. “The school has come a long way since my freshman year, when a Confederate flag flew for a month in the student parking lot.”

Lake Arrowhead business owner August Ambrozic, who was waving a large Trump – Make America Great banner, said he came to show people that Republicans are also in favor of justice for persons of color. “Whether Republican or Democrat, we need to have respect for each other.”

Midway through the rally, Pastor Rory Collins offered a prayer reminding that Jesus said, “But those things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile a man.” (New King James Version) Collins then requested prayers to end injustice and racism. “Pray for healing to the nation.”

Event co-organizer Hannah McDonald then requested all those present to participate in 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence to honor George Floyd (who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes) and all the others who have been killed because of the color of their skin. This was followed by a group singalong of “Amazing Grace.”

In a second protest, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, about 40 to 50 persons lined up along the highway in front of the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Station in a similar demonstration against racism and oppression of African-Americans. Asked what brought the group to Twin Peaks, organizer Jennifer Hurlbut explained, “People of color want to support our people of color, who are also our neighbors. We want people to know that we will stand with them against racism and police brutality. Please get involved.”

As the protesters stood in the rain, Adam Hurlbut played his guitar and sang songs of inspiration, such as John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

In praise of participants, Capt. Don Lupear, Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Station commander said, “I want to thank all the mountain residents for coming together and having a very peaceful protest. All the different views came and stood together in a great demonstration of what our country is all about, freedom to peacefully demonstrate. Thank you.”



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