Car caravan protesters seek unity in Black Lives Matter movement

Gusts of wind kicked up sand and debris and flung it toward Black Lives Matter protesters parked in the beach lot on Ocean Boulevard and Claremont Street. The wind and hot weather didn’t stop them from giving speeches about unity and political action.

The caravan drove out of the parking lot at about 2 p.m. and was planning to meet with other protesters at City Hill later this evening.

Tia Turner, Caravan 4 Justice organizer, gripped a megaphone and addressed the crowd from the truck bed of a black pick-up truck.

Caravan 4 Justice [sic] organizer Tia Turner speaks to Black Lives Matter protesters at a parking lot on Ocean Boulevard and Claremont Avenue on Saturday, July 11, 2020. Photo by Sebastian Echeverry

She said the narrative of the BLM movement should not sway from its main message of unity. She stated that a “war” has been feuding within some members of her community, but that the main message of the movement was to bring all races together.

“There’s a war going on–even some of my friends who I love dearly who I know they’re not prejudice, but they all having feelings,” she said. “We need to keep the narrative correct. We’re in this together–Black, Brown, White, Asian–especially our Brown brothers and sisters.”

The caravan group organized the protest with help from Voices of Long Beach, a relatively young group of activists who have been involved in other demonstrations.

Protester Ivy Martinez decorated her car with posters taped to the doors and wrote messages on the windows about defunding the police.

She said the youth’s involvement in voting is a way they can get involved with the larger movement nationwide.

“If we sit here and let things happen, nothing will change,” Martinez said. “Change comes slowly, but it surely comes.”

Protesters prepare for a Black Lives Matter car caravan on Saturday, July 11, 2020. Photo by Sebastian Echeverry.

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