Today I attended the MillionMarchLA and was witness to some historical moments I am proud to say. My husband and I and arrived about 40 min late (usual for us) from the original meeting time and place but as we rolled up to the chevron gas station on LaBrea and Beverly Blvd the march was just bending the corner heading south in LaBrea. I had been to protests and rally’s before for police brutality and government corruption but I have never seen a march with this many people! I was actually taken back for a second at just the size of the crowd.
We made a u-turn to try and find a side street and park so we can try to join in as quickly as possible. We parked, I grabbed my tennis shoes, my cigs, a bottle of dr. Pepper and of course my Anonymous mask. Locked up and speed walked around the next corner and joined in. We marched down LaBrea to Wilshire Ave and headed west.
As we turned the corner I stopped for a second and stepped back and just stood in awe of the energy of the March. A little girl in a pretty red coat about 5 years old held a sign that read “we can’t breathe” and as the crowd chanted “hands up don’t shoot” she screamed it out with all her might so that it vibrated her little body as she walked with her parents. I thought how amazing that she is there making history with her parents and at the same time how sad that she has forever lost some of her childhood innocence from dealing with such an ugly issue at this age instead of only having to worry about 5 year old little girl problems on the playground.
There were children sprinkled throughout the crowd. When what appeared to be the middle section of the march I looked to the front and could not see the frontline and as I looked towards the back I could not see where it ended. There were lots of photographers, streamers, only 2 camera drones that I saw; Dameon’s being one trying to get that perfect aerial shot from 30′ above the march. People with a variety of signs, matching shirts that read “are we next?”, red bands on their right arms, pictures of loved ones lost to police violence, pockets of groups with matching jackets or shirts with their school affiliation, fraternity/sorority affiliation, and community action groups/clubs. All these people, different backgrounds, status’s, religions, etc had come together this day to unite as one voice to stop the police brutality and killings of unarmed black and brown men! It was truly an amazing scene to witness.
As we reached Fairfax we turned right and headed north just as a Starline tour bus passed by with about 2 dozen tourists snapping shot after shot in astonishment. Then I realized we were right in from of the old Variety building where I use to work about 3 years ago, hmmph.
Ever so often I would make my way to the sidewalk to grab a cigarette and grab a swig of my hot Dr.Pepper and would see someone that would catch my eye by either the sign they were holding or the amount of emotion in every word of the chant they yelled out. I could see that they owned that moment, it was theirs, their mark on history to demand change; for themselves, for their children, grandchildren, father, brother, sister, mother, for everyone lost and for everyone out there that marched shoulder to shoulder, raised arms to raised arms, voice to voice and moments in silence to moments in silence. I was proud to be there to stand with this group and witness this true act of democracy as I had never seen it carried out before.
The police were few in numbers. A few on both sides of the street either on foot or on bikes along with the parking enforcement blocking traffic for us to march thru the streets and intersection without any issues of stopping or being hit. The organizers of the march were mostly wearing suits and carried red carnation flowers and walked along the march and would help keep the chants going and give direction to stay off the sidewalks and keep to the street. They were young and old alike and looked very sharp even thou they had to have been very hot in their suits and dress shoes. We continued to march up Fairfax and passed some residences. The residents started to come out of their homes to stand and watch us march past. I saw one older couple (not that old) standing at their front door; the man held their dog in his arms and began to chant with us, not loudly but enough to read his lips in unison with us. The lady stood their and filmed us with her smart phone and I thought to myself, I wonder if this was the first time this older white couple ever felt connected to this “type” of crowd before or if they had been low profile supporters all along?
As we passed by the shopping center a woman in her 60’s (I assume) was standing on the corner waiting to cross as we began to chant “this is what democracy looks like”. I turned to look at her not sure what reaction to expect and she burst into tears and held her hand to her face. She too was witnessing the truest act of democracy for the first time in person and could not contain the emotion that overcame her. I teared up just watching her and had to turn away so I did not turn into some bumbling idiot unable to see where I was marching or have a cracking voice when chanting. I looked up at the sun to quickly remove any evidence of my eyes giving into their desire to let my emotions take over.
We then passed a small gated community and as we got closer I could see a little girl in a cute cap sleeve dress standing on the other side of the gate with her eyes as big as silver dollars almost cartoon like and her mouth gaping open as her father was knelt down next to her talking directly in her ear, I assume explaining what she was seeing. She did not look scared or worried but amazed and I could only think that what ever her father was telling her was the truth of why we were there marching past her home.
We were getting close to being back to Beverly Blvd again and we stopped and the chants stopped and and the chatter silenced. I looked around and some began to Pray quietly to themselves and others just took this moment of silence to reflect and respect their fallen friends and family and most likely future friends and family that will one day fall victim to the police brutality and unlawful killing behind the badge. No one spoke or moved for about 3 minutes, it was the loudest silence you could ever imagine. The energy was so loud it filled every space between breaths, and people standing inches to feet apart from one another. You could feel the hurt, the emotion, the passion, the anger, and the hunger for real freedom.
I looked around and noticed a celebrity, I never knew I was marching next to The Game, Tigga, and Tyreese. Although I never saw Tyreese I only heard he was there by over hearing two young ladies talking excitedly about him being there. We hit Beverly Blvd and headed west again for a couple of blocks and made our final stop. At the front of the march there was a group of organizers that began to speak and and the immediate group around them tried to close in so the could hear while the rest spread out to the sidewalks and stood attentively. As the speaker finished the march closed with a song starting at a low hum then growing louder until I could finally hear that they were singing “we shall overcome”. It was a surreal end to this march and this day…..and I believed them…we shall overcome.