LANCASTER – More than 200 protesters marched through downtown Lancaster Saturday to call for justice and condemn police tactics that lead to the deaths of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis, and Breonna Taylor, who was killed during a police raid of her Louisville apartment.
The demonstration began around 4 p.m. Saturday, June 6, at Lancaster City Hall.
The lively crowd of mostly young adults chanted “Black lives matter!” and “No justice, no peace, no racist police!” as they marched east on Lancaster Boulevard to Beech Avenue, north on Beech Avenue to Kettering Street, and then west on Kettering Street to American Heroes Park.
“They blocked the streets off for us because that’s the right thing to do. We’re only invoking our first amendment,” said community activist Isabel Flax. “It’s all love here — different colors, different skin tones — it doesn’t even matter. There’s power in numbers, they’re going to hear us.”
Agents of Change President Dr. Miguel Coronado said he worked with Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris, Councilman Darrell Dorris, City Manager Jason Caudle, and Captain Todd Webber of the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station to ensure that the lines of communication were open so the protest would remain peaceful and be effective.
“The city of Lancaster provided tables, chairs, water and pizza for protesters to peacefully enjoy. Most importantly, space at American Heroes Park to share the message that black lives matter. This does not mean black lives matter more than other lives, nor that black lives are more precious than other lives. Black people just historically haven’t been treated like their lives matter at all, and this unjust treatment continues today,” Coronado explained.
“’Black Lives Matter’ is a rallying cry meant to replace the subtle voice in the back of your head that might tell you that you don’t need to care about black people as much as you care about other people. It’s meant to ring in the ears of police officers and other people whose internal decisions impact black people’s lives directly,” Coronado added.
Saturday’s demonstration in Lancaster also emphasized the importance of voting, according to Flax.
“Today [June 6] was about getting people to vote, getting people to actually make a change in a system that is not for them. And if that system is not for you then you have to get up and vote, get your people in places of power to be able to make a change in your community… that’s the way we change things,” Flax said.
Protesters also hope to bring about change through open dialogue with city and county leaders.
“In the next few weeks, Mayor R. Rex Parris, Mayor Steve Hofbauer, city, county and state officials will have a listening session with leaders of the peaceful protest in the Antelope Valley,” Coronado added.