A weekend of peaceful protests in support of racial equality continued today with bikers in La Mesa and babies and their moms in Coronado, among other gatherings planned for later in the afternoon.
About 150 motorcyclists participated in a unity ride from Oak Park to police headquarters in La Mesa at 1 p.m. to join up with another group of protesters gathering to demonstrate against racism and police brutality.
The demonstration was billed as a non-violent call for change in law enforcement and official accountability for several widely condemned police encounters that played out recently in the eastern San Diego County city.
“We are Peaceful!,” organizer Tasha Williamson posted on Twitter. “We are Unified! We Want JUSTICE!”
The leader of the biker contingent, who goes by the name “Caveman,” said he wants police to engage in some introspection about how officers treat people of color.
“I’m not a big fan of police brutality,” he said. “And it’s unfortunate that it has come to our community. They need to stand back and maybe look at themselves.”
La Mesa Police Chief Walter Vasquez responded to that message with gratitude and a message of his own.
“Thank you — but we need their input,” Vasquez said. “And then change needs to occur, especially from the police department. We all need to get better.”
At 10 a.m. in Coronado, more than 100 people turned out at Spreckles Park for a “Baby’s First Black Lives Matter Protest” organized by Ellie Coburn and featuring activism storytime, music, dancing and voices of black motherhood.
“We had a beautiful turnout,” Coburn told City News Service. “We had the opportunity to listen to some incredible mama speakers speak on black motherhood and the founder of SD Peaceful Protests speak on the importance of early race awareness.”
She said participants heard the reading of a storybook on activism, danced and sang to empowerment music by black artists, taught the kids how to do protest chants and engage in about an hour of “art, bubbles and community.”
“This event for families with young children is so important because we know that children establish a lifetime of racial biases by just five years old,” Coburn said. The event lasted about 90 minutes.
The group is planning another event on June 28 in North County.
At noon in Pacific Beach, “Walk for Equality” protesters met at the Crystal Pier to begin a march.
At 2 p.m., a Black Lives Matter march was scheduled to begin at the San Diego Zoo and end up at the San Diego Police Department headquarters at 1401 Broadway.
KPBS Reporter Amita Sharma and City News Service