About 100 gather for peaceful BLM sit-in at Bluff Park

Organizers in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement transformed Long Beach’s usual yogi Bluff Park into a specialized space of trauma-healing and meditation as part of a sit-in protest Sunday afternoon.

About 100 people, mostly physically distanced, sat in during this “alternative” type of protest, scheduled from 2:30 to 7 p.m., greeted with the scent of burning sage, music, indigenous-centered speeches and a fresh breeze.

The event, “Healing: A Sit-In for Justice, Peace & Unity,” encouraged participants to wear white and bring flowers, contrasted greatly to other social justice protests in Long Beach following the killing of George Floyd this late spring, which often carried anger, loudness and disruption.

“A lot of us found that it was exhausting,” said 28-year-old Derek Garlington, a videographer helping to film the event. “We needed an alternative way to be in solidarity.”

He wanted to participate in “taking that anguish, instead of charging it” and turning it into healing for Black and Brown people who have experienced generations of trauma, giving thanks to the protesting work done before them.

“Most of the time, you gotta keep your blinkers on just to stay sane,” Garlington said.

Organizers, taking a healing approach, wanted the audience to honor their lives and those lost to police brutality.

“I am love. I am worthy,” an emcee said to the sitting crowd, asking them to recite it back before a breathing exercise.

“I think it’s a needed way of protesting,” said 24-year-old Cerritos resident Jasmine Li.

A woman dances during a healing-centered sit-in protest in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement at Bluff Park on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. Photo by Crystal Niebla.

Jasmine Hayden facilitates a meditation circle as part of a healing-centered sit-in protest in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement at Bluff Park on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. Photo by Crystal Niebla.

A group of women lead a short march around Bixby Park as part of a healing-centered sit-in protest in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement based at the neighboring Bluff Park on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. Photo by Crystal Niebla.

About 100 people showed up to a healing-centered sit-in protest in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement at Bluff Park on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. Photo by Crystal Niebla.

A woman uses sound therapy as part of a healing-centered sit-in protest in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement at Bluff Park on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. Photo by Crystal Niebla.

An attendee participates in a breathing exercise as part of a healing-centered sit-in protest in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement at Bluff Park on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. Photo by Crystal Niebla.

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Crystal Niebla is the West Long Beach reporter through the Report for America program. Philanthropic organizations pledged to cover the local donor portion of her grant-funded position with the Post. If you want to support Crystal's work, you can donate to her Report For America position at lbpost.com/support.
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