Honking and riding for justice: Long Beach enters second weekend of protests

Honking echoed throughout the city on Saturday as Long Beachers found new ways to protest and show unity in the midst of nationwide demonstrations over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Those calling for justice against police brutality chose to move on wheels Saturday morning–– bikes being their method of transportation–– as a “unity ride” protest formed just outside the Aquarium of the Pacific.

Taja Edwards, the ride’s organizer, wanted to bring Long Beach residents together in an active way while shining a light on police brutality.

“I believe that protesting is necessary, but I don’t necessarily believe is transformative in the sense that legislation will still need to be passed,” Edwards said, “but this is one way that we can bring people together and get them some fresh air.”

Edwards decided to organize the bike ride in remembrance not only of black lives lost to police violence, but for her grandfather, who recently died from coronavirus. The best way she could remember her grandfather’s memory is on her bike, Edwards said.

The group cycled a 6-mile loop around the aquarium, down toward Shoreline Park and through portions of the Pike shopping center.

Mother and daughter Michelle and Nicole Rodriguez said they wanted to “do something positive” and bring awareness to the conversation of racial injustice–– all the while getting in exercise, which they believe is crucial as the health pandemic drags on.

“We felt it was important to be part of something positive,” Michelle said. “It’s not OK for racism to exist, and we shouldn’t be looking at each other’s colors. We should just be looking at each other as humans loving one another— respecting one another.”

More protests took place as the day went on.

At least 50 to 100 motorists participated in a “Car Caravan for Black Lives” that began near Hughes Middle School in Bixby Knolls at 2 p.m.

The automobile theme stuck with other demonstrations as a caravan of dozens of cars made its way down Ocean Boulevard.

The occupants carried signs in support of Black Lives Matter and denounced police violence.

In Signal Hill, roughly 200 people lined Cherry Avenue near Signal Hill Park Saturday, chanting “no justice, no peace.”

The previous night, Downtown Long Beach experienced yet another mass protest, with thousands marching through the streets taking up almost every inch of pavement. Police motorcycles and cruisers were seen traveling parallel to the protesters’ path, but they maintained a visibly far distance throughout the demonstration.

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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.