With hand sanitizer in hand, Robin Thorne welcomed people outside the Expo Arts Center in Bixby Knolls as they gathered for a solidarity march against police violence on Thursday afternoon.
Fear of COVID-19 prompted Thorne to bring the hand sanitizer and masks, but that didn’t stop her from involving the community in the ongoing protests citywide and challenging people to continue demanding change.
“We can’t go back to life as it was,” said Thorne, who organized the march. “I challenge you to go further. We have to hold elected officials accountable.”
About 30 peaceful protesters marched up and down Atlantic Avenue for about an hour before they took a knee for 8 minutes in honor of George Floyd, who died after a White Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for over 8 minutes in late May.
Although the group was smaller than most recent protests, it still managed to garner honks in support from motorists and cheers from bystanders.
Brian Chavez of the Historical Society of Long Beach said his Latino background inspired him to join the march.
“It’s so important for us to have solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters,” he said. “We are both in the same struggle, but our Black brothers and sisters are suffering more than we are.”
Moving forward, Thorne wants everyone calling for justice against police brutality to be on the same page. In her eyes, change can happen, as she acknowledged the recent abolition of the controversial sleeper hold, or carotid hold, by local departments.
“We’re moving in the right direction,” she said. “I’m going to keep challenging people to do something, whatever that something is.”
Support our journalism.
Hyperlocal news is an essential force in our democracy, but it costs money to keep an organization like this one alive, and we can’t rely on advertiser support alone. That’s why we’re asking readers like you to support our independent, fact-based journalism. We know you like it—that’s why you’re here. Help us keep hyperlocal news alive in Long Beach.