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.
A woman known as Queen Hollins, of Long Beach, who practices spiritual, indigenous healing, shares a few words. pic.twitter.com/U7zSIGrntn— Crystal Niebla (@crystalniebla) September 28, 2020
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.