LANCASTER – Hundreds of young adults gathered on Lancaster Boulevard Wednesday afternoon for a rally in response to the recent fatal police shootings of black men.
The event kicked off around 4 p.m. Wednesday, July 13, in front of the Los Angeles County Library at 601 West Lancaster Boulevard.
The group marched east on Lancaster Boulevard to the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station, then marched south on Sierra Highway for about a block before heading back to Lancaster Boulevard.
Marchers held signs and chanted, “Black lives matter!” and “No justice, no peace!”
“I’m out here standing for black lives,” said attendee Cliff Ross. “In the year of 2015, over 1,200 people were killed by police. In 2016, over 600 people have been killed… I want to convey the message that black lives matter, that you should not be afraid of being gunned down by police and that this has to stop.”
“I have three brothers, black males… To police they will look suspicious, and I want to make sure they could be safe out here in the world,” said attendee Destiny Joseph. “All lives matters, they all do, but right now black lives need to be represented.”
“As a person of color, I feel like it’s part of my responsibility to stand in solidarity with other people of color, especially the black community, because I see the injustices that they face everyday,” said Chloe, a marcher who gave only her first name.
The rally eventually ended at American Heroes Park, at 701 W. Kettering Avenue, where a few speakers addressed the crowd.
“Black people have been getting murdered for a long time. This is a movement so that our voices are heard,” Evangela Cecil told the gathering. “We are not here to kill police, we are not here to kill anyone, except for the injustice that has been brought upon us as a people. We are here for our voices to be heard, it is enough.”
Captain Pat Nelson from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Lancaster Station was at the rally; he stressed the importance of dialogue.
“It’s the first step to understanding,” Nelson told reporters. “Unfortunately, it seems that — sometimes driven by the media, sometimes driven by events — that dialogue is cut off, and we don’t get an opportunity to discuss each other’s points of view… Without doing that, you can’t reach understanding.”