Almost 200 people blocked the Castro district in San Francisco last week to rally against “systemic police violence toward minorities.”
“We want to stand in solidarity and say the killings have to stop,” Janetta Johnson, a program director for the transgender justice project said. “There’s a lot of fear of police – especially by black people and brown people.”
The rallying was in light of the police killings of unarmed men in Missouri and New York recently. The demonstrators chose the day before Christmas to say this was “no time for celebration.”
People held signs with sayings like, “Silence = Violence” and chanted “We’re here! We’re queer! Black lives matter!”
“Today, we march, proclaiming our demands for police accountability, transparency and an end to institutional racism,” Thea Matthews, student and activist leader at City College of San Francisco, said after a moment of silence in honor of Michael Brown. “In order to truly have all lives, especially black lives, matter, we must unite all oppressed communities who face police repression and violence.”
One of the officers, Lt. Ed Santos, who directed traffic during the march, said it went well.
“They’ve done everything that they can do to be respectful to the citizens of San Francisco,” he said. “So far, so good.”
Marchers ended the protest around 10 a.m. at Market and Castro holding hands and singing.
“The energy was beautiful,” Declan Cante, a San Francisco resident, said. “It makes you feel a little bit better when you see that people do care.”