Protestors throughout the Bay Area are marching in response to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A recent protest in Dublin garnered much support from the Tri-Valley and surrounding areas as hundreds of supporters flooded the streets to protest for change.
People from all ages and backgrounds came out in support for the movement which was led by mostly young people of color. The group marched 2.5 miles, escorted by the Dublin Police Department, from Emerald Glen Park to the intersection of Dublin Boulevard and Dougherty Road and took a knee for eight minutes to honor the amount of time George Floyd couldn’t breathe. Protests were mostly peaceful with the only complaint from protestors being that Dublin Police officers refused to kneel with protestors when being asked to show solidarity.
“It’s important to make a point in Dublin because wherever you go in the nation there is police inequality,” Kaden, a protest organizer, said. (Ed. note — The Express has reached out to the event organizers for Kaden’s last name but has not yet gotten a response.)
The protest started off with Tri-Valley residents, including the Mayor of Dublin David Haubert, stating why the protest is important and emphasizing that the protests will be peaceful throughout the march. The organizers also gave out masks and water bottles and informed protesters that they will be practicing social distancing.
Protesters started their march going westbound towards Dublin Boulevard. Many in the crowd held up signs with slogans like “Black Lives Matter”, “Justice for George Floyd” and “No Justice, No Peace.” Chants of “say his name” and “no racist police” were also used during the march.
As protestors walked along the streets, cars honked and drivers raised a fist in the air to show solidarity with those walking. Dublin residents not in the protest also joined in chants from their balconies to show support.
When protestors got to the intersection of Dublin Boulevard, protesters took a knee in silence for eight minutes. LPC student Ire Akinsola held up a “Black Lives Matter” sign and raised a fist in the air on his knee for the full eight minutes.
“I want people to know that what happened to George Floyd is wrong. I think it is equally important for the Tri-Valley to come together because everyone should be aware of an issue that has plagued the African-American community for years,” Akinsola said.
One of the bigger moments of the protest was the standoff between police and protestors at the Dublin Civic Center. A green gate separated the two groups as protestors pleaded for the police to kneel in solidarity. The officers in riot gear refused and stood facing the crowd for fifteen minutes until a black bus took them away. The crowd then dispersed and marched back to Emerald Glen Park.
The impact of the George Floyd death was felt by many in the community. People from all different backgrounds and ethnicities were in the crowd marching. One family in particular was wearing “Black Lives Matter” t-shirts and held up signs with the names of past police brutality victims such as Breonna Taylor, Oscar Grant and Eric Garner. The father of the family emphasized that he wants his children to “grow up being open minded and accepting of other people.”
Manav Patel, a member of student government and former staff member for the Bernie Sanders campaign, was very active in the protest and even led chants while marching.
“I believe we need to show up because it is crucial to tell members of the Black community that we see you, and we hear you. We need to protest to highlight that our country has systemic issues when it comes to the Black and Brown community,” Patel said.
Mayor David Haubert was adamant on marching with the people of his community. He was often on the frontlines of the protest and gave some words before the protests on his feelings on the subject of police brutality.
“I have been in contact with mayors around the country, around the state and in this Tri-Valley. And the feeling is unanimous. We are absolutely disgusted and cannot stand what we saw on that video,” Haubert said.
When asked what he thought of the federal government’s response to the handling of protests around the country, Haubert declined to comment.
The protest turned out hundreds of residents to be heard on the issue of police brutality. The protesters stayed peaceful and made sure to make a point that the people of the small suburban cities of the Tri-Valley are in support of George Floyd and his family.
“Protesting shows we can alter our national agenda and win reforms to help our country,” Patel said. “We, as a nation, can fight for the platform we want if we come out in masses.”
Nathan Canilao is the sports editor of The Express. Follow him @nathancanilao.