Livermore residents marched for the second time this week in response to the shooting of George Floyd. The Black Lives Matter chapter of the Tri-Valley led the protest along with the Mayor of Livermore John Marchand and Livermore Police Chief Micahel D. Harris. Protestors took a knee and had a moment of silence for eight minutes and forty six seconds at the intersection of First Street and South Livermore to honor the amount of time George Floyd couldn’t breathe.
Hundreds of residents showed up to march in protest of police brutality and systemic racism. Signs and paintings were put up in the Livermorium Plaza to honor the memory of George Floyd and others who have died at the hands of police brutality.
“Our nation is outraged by the unjust killing of George Floyd. What Derek Chauvin did was reprehensible,” Marchand said. “We need to keep working. This isn’t a one day event.”
The protest started at Carnegie Park in downtown Livermore where BLM Tri-Valley handed out water and masks to protestors while also letting members of the community speak on George Floyd’s death and how the city of Livermore can help in the fight against police brutality. Harris mentioned that the Livermore Police Department is enacting the “8 Can’t Wait” policy which is a set of eight rules officers must follow when handling an arrest. Some of these policies include banning chokeholds and shooting at moving vehicles.
Protestors marched throughout the downtown area and took a knee at the intersection of First Street and South Livermore. On Tuesday’s protest, a few anti-protestors in a truck waved a Trump flag and taunted protestors on the sidewalk. Many in the community were outraged by the act and condemned the anti-protesters on social media platforms. Livermore Police cut off all possible entrances to the intersection to stop that from happening again.
Among those at the protest was LPC Humanities professor and Livermore resident Steven Chiolis. Chiolis was very adamant about making changes to the police system in Livermore. He created his own sign, which depicted the difference between Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter. At times when Mayor Marchand was addressing the crowd, Chiolis interrupted by saying that the Livermore Police Department could do more to help against police brutality.
“Get rid of those chokeholds today. Announce no chokeholds,” Chiolis said in the middle of Mayor Marchand’s speech.
Even as vocal and critical as Chiolis was of the policies in place, for Chiolis, it all comes out of love for the community. “This is my community. I am a community college professor. All your friends, all my friends, we’re all one people. Some of us are hurting very much,” Chiolis said.
Though many people came to the protest, a familiar sight was the number of young high school and college students in the crowd. Local Livermore residents who attend LPC also joined in on the march. Mike Lin, an LPC graduate of this year, felt it was necessary for everyone to come together, especially other People of Color to support injustices in the African-American community.
“We’re labeled a white town, but if you look at today, that’s not the case. As an Asian-American, we might not face the same problems that African Americans do, but we do understand the system that grants privileges to the white community. It is important that we uplift the black community and show unity,” Lin said.
LPC student Claire Green also echoed those sentiments of People of Color supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. “There is a lot of internalized racism in each community,” Green said. “It’s important to emphasize that and to show solidarity and unity with the Black community.”
The protests in the Tri-Valley have been mostly peaceful, and the protest that took place on Thursday was no different. Some areas of downtown were boarded up to prevent looters from destroying property, but there were no signs of looters at either organized protest this week in Livermore.
“I’ve been to the protests in Oakland and San Francisco, and there were times where they ended up getting violent, but Livermore is different, which is to be expected. But the energy is still high, and I love the turnout,” Green said.
The protests have gotten a positive turnout bringing some sort of justice to the family of George Floyd. The officers involved in the murder of George Floyd have all been arrested, with Chauvin being charged with second degree murder this week, and upgrade from the the orginal charges of manslaughter and third degree murder.
Though many believe justice is being served, the fight does not stop to end police brutality in America. “People gotta understand that just because you see it on a camera, it’s not the only time it’s happening,” Genesis Jackson said, a resident of Livermore.
Hundreds of members of the city of Livermore showed support for those affected by police brutality. Residents wanted to be part of the solution and wanted specific changes to be made so that police brutality won’t be a problem in the community. But most of all, the community and the protesters wanted to stand up to the racial and social justices that are occurring in the African-American community, not just in Livermore, but around the country.
“Every community has to stand up, at this moment, for racial and social justice,” Chilois said. “Black Lives Matter.”
Nathan Canilao is the sports editor of The Express. Follow him @nathancanilao.