Peaceful Protest In the SCV
Rumors of a possible ‘Black Lives Matter’ protest spread through the Santa Clarita Valley suburbs and on national newsfeeds in the days leading up to May 30, 2020. Discourse on details ranging from the unknown protest organizers to the potential attendees went back and forth with no definite answer. Will it be peaceful? Will there be riots? The climate of our surrounding cities left us unsure. The National Guard was secured as backup for our sheriffs; businesses in Valencia closed early or didn’t open at all, boarding up their windows and bracing for impact; a city-wide 6 p.m. curfew was put in place, lasting for days.
On the morning of Saturday May 30, activists from each direction of McBean Parkway and Valencia Boulevard began to gather like ants to a picnic. Another congregation of passionate people with powerful signs met at Bridgeport Park; each group was praised with supportive honks and waves from passersby.
As the day went on, the numbers grew. Peaceful protesters of all kinds joined forces and held intersection ‘sit-ins’ for eight minutes and 46 seconds to honor the life of George Floyd, as well as the other countless Black lives that have been taken. Chants like ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘No Justice, No Peace’ echoed around each corner.
Hundreds of people kept the initial protest alive well into the weekend, and organized gatherings were found daily throughout the city. SCV For Change is a new community organization that has been orchestrating peaceful protests and sit-ins for the Santa Clarita Valley. There have been demonstrations on street corners in Valencia as well as in front of City Hall, calling attention to collective grievances such as racial discrimination and the city’s spending budget. When commenting on the energy of their local meets, SCV For Change co-founder Lauryn Valley states, “it’s all very loving…almost electric, and truly feels like a community.”
Looking back on the night before May 30, the uneasy feelings about what may arrive in the morning…it seems that we got the best outcome. Community members are finding connections in advocacy— using their voices to empower each other and to bring about meaningful change. “[Attendees] are constantly looking for ways to get involved or help support,” Lauryn comments about the plethora of event activists. Protesting is only gaining traction worldwide, as global citizens continue to demand justice. As Lauryn puts it: “We’re all fighting for one thing: Change…We won’t stop protesting until the system is rebuilt.”
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