Los Angeles: Caravan Against Police Terror draws community support

SLL photo: Benie Ramos

Los Angeles — The recent death of George Floyd due to police brutality has caused a lot of people to unite through this very heartbreaking and difficult situation. It’s not the first time this has happened, and the people want change. People want justice — not only for Floyd, but also for the many others who have lost their lives due to inhumane police officers. 

On Sunday, June 7, a “Community Caravan Against Police Terrorism” was held. The caravan was hosted by Unión del Barrio and co-hosted by Struggle-La Lucha, the Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice, Witness for Peace Southwest, the Socialist Unity Party, the Human Rights Alliance for Child Refugees and Families, and Frente Indígena de Organizaciones. In addition, over 40 organizations endorsed. 

Hundreds of vehicles joined the historic protest caravan.

Photo: Revo Grafia

Honoring Bunchy Carter

We started at Woodlawn Cemetery in Compton, where Black Panther Party leader Bunchy Carter, a victim of the U.S. government’s Cointelpro program, is buried. Former Black Panther Harold Welton gave a speech. There were news reporters and other people recorded and shared the commemoration on social media.

The commemoration began with remarks from Celestinia Bishop, who leads volunteer efforts at the cemetery to clean a peoples’ landmark where Black slaves were also buried. Her grandmother, grandfather and other close relatives were buried in the cemetery. 

She spoke about how she and her family have been affected by police terror. Her son, who has disabilities, saw the latest videos on police brutality and now has fear of cops, whom he thought were heroes at first. Bishop also stated, “If we were to cut each other, we all would bleed the same.”

Before the caravan left the cemetery, I interviewed another of the volunteers who participated in the caravan. She said: “I want to support the community. To live with respect from the people who should be protecting us. I am indignant seeing these things happen to people from our communities. I came today to support this caravan because I don’t want this to keep happening to our future generations. 

“I want this to change people’s views,” she continued, “and this time change the world and have a peaceful life,” referring to the changes she would like to see happen in the communities. She also expressed that she would like more respect from those who are called “hero cops.” She doesn’t want her grandkids to grow up with the fear she grew up with.

Photo: Revo Grafia

‘The problem is the system’

The caravan started moving around 12:30 p.m., driving through Compton up to Watts. Moving through these neighborhoods, we saw many people outside their homes supporting the caravan. Some held posters while others just watched and recorded from a distance. 

From Watts, the caravan moved all the way through Los Angeles along Central Avenue to the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters. We got to City Hall around 3:40 p.m., where another protest was already going on. 

There, one of the hosts of the protest said, “We speak the power, we are here today protesting because you all want the power to speak,” referring to how the people want to be heard, especially with injustice that happens on a daily basis. 

“The problem isn’t our skin color. The problem is how the system has created stereotypes for people of color. This, today, is how the U.S. should be: people being united.”

The U.S. has never been great. It has always had wars, racism, stereotypes, violence and corruption amongst the people. The people should be united, but for too long the system has put fear into people to unite when it comes to any type of situation. 

Now things are starting to change.

Dulce Garcia (writer) and Benie Ramos (photographer) are journalists, high school students and activists who helped organize the caravan.

 

Talks by Unión del Barrio’s Ron Gochez and Struggle-La Lucha’s Rebecka Jackson-Moesser during June 7 caravan.