Peaceful Protest Planned For June 20th

Monday morning, June 15th, as I prepared to engage upon my morning ritual of doing the LA Times crossword puzzle, I happened to glance at my horoscope: “You’ll suspect that you’re missing a vital obligation – to seize a chance at a different kind of happiness before the window closes.” Pretty cryptic, I thought. And then I remembered that the previous day I had sent The Observer a graphic provided by my neighbor, Pastor Michael Barrett, about a peaceful protest rally he and his wife, La’Kesia, were organizing in Culver City on Saturday, June 20th, starting at 11:30 AM at Veterans Memorial Park, with the march commencing at noon.

I had planned to write an article to accompany the graphic, but in the meantime I had lost my somewhat erratic internet connection that chose not to return until Monday afternoon. Since writing about what I hope is the beginning of powerful and positive societal change is way up there on my happiness scale, and my window of opportunity to get this story published prior to Saturday’s rally was closing rapidly because of a tight deadline, maybe that horoscope wasn’t so cryptic after all. I can see my friend Lynne, a noted astrologer, smiling when she reads that.

However, I’m not smiling as I recall my naïve belief that the huge, passionate and multiracial response to George Floyd’s tragic death would make potential killers of black people at least pause and reconsider. I was wrong, and the lost lives continue.

On May 31st, six days after Mr. Floyd’s death, Malcolm Harsch was found hanging from a tree in Victorville.

Hanging from a tree. In 2020.I can hear Lady Day’s haunting rendition of “Strange Fruit,” a song she recorded back in 1939. And here we are, 81 years later . . . .

“Then there is Robert Fuller of Palmdale, also recently found hung from a tree,” my friend Sheree stated, as I was writing this article. He was discovered June 10th.

Neither family believes it was suicide, and investigations are underway.

Sheree then told me about an emotional and painful press conference that was televised live on CNN with the family of Rayshard Brooks, who was shot by police in the parking lot of an Atlanta Wendy’s on June 12th. The family’s attorney, L. Chris Stewart, had ended with this statement: “Sadly, I’m probably going to be back here in a few months.”

“It’s just sad and very troublesome,” my friend added. “This is beyond policing. We are having the necessary conversations. I still have hope that a change is coming.”

As a positive indicator, she referred me tohttps://blmkc.com2020/06/13/i-am-a-racist/,a powerful post by Bob Stewart who writes about the subtlety of racism growing up, and how that “set the stage for a lifetime of subconscious racism.”

Stewart describes how he “started forming a different view. One that reset my upbringing and allowed me to try to understand how it happened and how insidious it was. It’s been a long journey. I’m still working on it. I’ve recently figured out what ‘white privilege’ really is after some meaningful and honest discussions with my black friends. I thought I knew, but I didn’t really. It’s the simple reality that the rules of society are inherently stacked in the favor of the white people .Why? Because of people like me who have never realized how racist their upbringing was. How ingrained it is to prefer white people over people of color. I have this privilege inherently. And those in power, predominately white men, freely give it often without knowing that is what they are doing.”

I strongly recommend reading the post in its entirety, including the comments at the end. Reviewing the “Racism Scale” Stewart included can be a revelatory experience.

Circling back to the protest planned for Saturday, here’s a brief description of the organizations shown on the accompanying graphic.

Do Right Christian Church in Los Angeles, where Pastor Barrett officiates, maintains food, drive-through prayer, skid row and convalescent ministries. Its message: “We are a church concerned about souls and doing the work of the Lord. I don’t believe He has brought me this far just to leave me.”

WendyCity Productions Group is a multifunction production services company offering assistance with all media types.

The goal of A Child’s Dream-CA is to help underserved children with the resources needed to become healthy and successful.

BrownBox Productions performs theatrical productions in the inner city and provides production and photography training.

The Parents of Watts (“POW”), founded by Alice Harris (commonly known as “Sweet Alice”), its executive director, is a youth outreach group that provides mental health assistance, child development and learning opportunities for underprivileged children, and safe havens for battered women and families in need.

Ms. Harris, who was born in Alabama in 1934,experienced poverty, homelessness and single motherhood as a teenager, and earned a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Dominguez Hills. It is my understanding that she will be at the Saturday event.

A witness to several days of civil unrest in Watts in 1965 and determined to help ease the ensuing tensions, she and other volunteers worked out of her house to help rebuild the community. She linked with various civic groups and formed the Black and Brown Committee. It eventually became POW, an organization that now operates a variety of programs in several houses that she purchased. Ms. Harris, the recipient of many honors, is considered an icon in the black community, and I think of her as a shining light as well.

Despite all the grief I’ve seen unfold in the news recently – more deaths, more despair, more anger – I see the persistent glimmer of hope, the dandelion that pushes up through the crack in the cement, the glimmer that comes as we all learn, grow, and commit to a common goal. Although the time for change is past due, the defeat of racism is an obligation that can and must be met.


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