By Kayli Harley and Stella Heo, Online Editors-in-Chief
// In Minneapolis, Los Angeles, London, Philadelphia, Miami, Washington D.C., Dallas, San Francisco, and countless other cities across the world, people are protesting for change. Now, Lafayette residents are answering the call for change as well.
Many members of the Lafayette community participated in a car caravan today from 11 a.m. to noon, protesting police brutality, and most recently, the killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin on Monday, May 25.
Three community members, Heidi Doggett, Jennifer LaForce, and Nazia Sheriff-Mohiuddin, organized the caravan and publicized it on Facebook to try to have others join.
“The three of us had some different ideas about why we wanted to do this and how we’d like it to happen, but we all agreed on the most important things: we needed to show support for George Floyd’s family and those who have lost their lives because of racism, and to spark further anti-racist work in Lamorinda,” Doggett said.
Many community members volunteered onsite to help direct cars and communicate changes to the planned route, which was especially important after having to change the route last minute due to concerns for safety.
Some Acalanes students drove alongside other community members.
“Change is coming and I wholeheartedly support the Black Lives Matter movement. I wanted to put my thoughts and words into action and show up for the movement,” outgoing senior Brooke Westphal said.
Other Acalanes students watched the cars go by and showed their support.
“A lot of people were honking, and I saw a few people with signs on the street. I honked, waved, and clapped. I had a prior commitment so I couldn’t drive with them, but I tried my best to show my support and solitude,” outgoing senior Maddie Wilson said.
Some students and community members found the peaceful protest to have a powerful atmosphere.
“The energy at today’s rally was, to quote Nazia, ‘a perfect blend of chaos.’ So many more people turned out than any of us had expected. Participants were suddenly seeing that they weren’t the only ones willing to say something,” Doggett said.
Many students believe that it’s important to support those who fight for equality.
“We are a predominantly white community and we live in a pretty-much sheltered bubble. I think it’s extremely important that we not only recognize the problems that our world is facing but also outwardly show our support and stand with the black community,” Wilson said.
Some students wanted to use their voices and seek further knowledge to show their support.
“I recognize my privilege as a white person. I have not had the same experiences that the black community has faced. But I am constantly trying to educate myself as it is my job to use that privilege and help change the system,” Westphal said.
The protestors hope that the car caravan sheds light on the work of those directly affected by police brutality and leads to further change.
“I hope that demonstrations like ours can help direct attention and support to their efforts. Demonstrations help connect community members who are ready to pitch in however they can to dismantle racism,” Doggett said. “They can offer comfort to those looking for a signal that their community cares about their safety. Demonstrations are a jumping-off place. They’re effective when they lead to more concrete action afterward.”
Watch the video below to see what the car caravan looked like!
Blueprint would like to provide resources for our readers:
Author Ibram X. Kendi’s anti-racist reading list
Here is a graphic explanation of the different types of racism
Click here for different ways you can help