Skate for Peace draws hundreds of skaters, spectators to Cherry Hill while denouncing police brutality

Hundreds of skaters, bicyclists and spectators gathered at Bluff Park in Alamitos Beach Sunday afternoon to protest police brutality with live music and skateboarding tricks on Go Skateboarding Day.

The event was billed as a “Skate for Peace” gathering. As was the case during a similar protest last week, skaters did the quintessential drop down Cherry Hill (Junipero Avenue, south of Ocean Boulevard), while protesters gathered around a high-energy set by Long Beach-based punk rock band Wacko.

Franklin Sims, who is quickly becoming a familiar face at local protests, was the only person to make a speech during the first hour of the event, which started at about 1 p.m.

“We must show political pressure and skateboarding is a political statement,” Sims told the crowd. “Just so everybody knows why we’re here. George Floyd may have brought everybody out in the street but before George Floyd and before Minneapolis there was police brutality in Long Beach and that’s why we’re here right now.”

Sims urged the mostly young crowd to register to vote and talked about his efforts to recall Mayor Robert Garcia, an announcement he’s made at previous protests. He spoke critically about the mayor and the political contributions he receives from the local police union, the Long Beach Police Officers Association.

The event was one of multiple that took place over the weekend and the latest one to take place in Long Beach as the city enters its fourth week of anti-police brutality demonstrations.

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Stephanie Rivera is the immigration and diversity reporter for the Long Beach Post. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015.