(photo by Justin Fine)
Rare local protest: show of solidarity
More than 100 Scripps Ranch residents expressed their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement Sunday, June 7, at a family-friendly, roadside protest.
The demonstration, which took place on the corner of Scripps Poway Parkway and Spring Canyon Road, lasted about three hours. Besides the protestors, hundreds of passersby expressed their support for the demonstration by honking their car horns.
Event organizers Pam Werner and Nadine Knowles said they were overwhelmed by the event’s turnout, especially considering it had only been posted on Facebook one day before.
“I thought there might be six families,” Werner said. “I can’t even see where it starts and where it ends.”
The gathering was one of hundreds that occurred across the nation just over two weeks after Minneapolis resident George Floyd was killed as a result of police brutality, leading to calls from protestors for sweeping criminal justice reform.
A protest in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego on Saturday attracted at least 3,000 protestors, although some estimates are thousands higher. Werner said she wanted to bring the movement to Scripps Ranch to give residents a safer option for getting involved amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I didn’t know what to do, I needed to do something, but COVID is real,” Werner said. “My husband is vulnerable, so going to the large, 1,000-people protest just wasn’t an option for us.”
Some families took advantage of the smaller demonstration to educate their children about racial inequality in America. Knowles said she believes these conversations are one of the most important ways families can fuel the movement.
“For me it’s about talking to my kids, talking to my friends and other families, and having that difficult conversation when necessary, and making sure they understand why this is so important,” Knowles said.
Protestor Candice Allnut said these conversations are common in her interracial household, and that the Scripps Ranch event was one of two protests her family attended recently.
“At the march yesterday, there were more than 3,000 people there, and we ended up running into our neighbor from across the street and he’s like the only other black neighbor in our neighborhood,” Allnut said.
The Scripps Ranch community is about 56 percent white and 2 percent black, according to the San Diego Association of Government’s 2018 estimate.
Werner said the events of the past few weeks have taught her all white people have had a role in perpetuating systematic racism, and that she wants the community to stand up against this.
“Maybe we didn’t directly do it, but indirectly we’ve all had a hand in allowing the thoughts of racism to continue to proceed in important positions,” Werner said.
Protestor Jeff Reilly said he just hopes the community maintains this energy once the general election comes around.
“I think we’ve got to keep it up all the way until November,” Reilly said. “We’ve got to make some changes all up and down the line.”
See more pictures of the event in our previous story, Grassroots protest is big success.