Activists gathered at LA City Hall today to honor George Floyd, who was murdered last year by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
“Stay in the streets” was the theme of the rally, as activists pressed for more action on defunding police and transforming the criminal justice system.
“This is a movement, not a moment,” says Dr. Chasity Jennings-Nunez, who was among the crowd. “It requires all of us to stay focused, to stay dedicated, to continue to make change, because it's not going to happen overnight. And even if it does, there are many forces out there who don't want it to continue.”
Jennings-Nunez was joined by her goddaughter, Angela Robles, who chose to come march.
“I've noticed that it's not a simple ‘Oh, we did it once and it's over.’ We have to continue to fight. Because if we don't, we're not going to be heard. We're not going to be listened to. It’s a constant struggle. So that's why I'm here today.”
Organizations like Black Lives Matter LA are pushing for People’s Budget LA, which would divert money from the city’s budget away from the LAPD.
“Justice would mean taking funds that are typically put into law enforcement strategies that have not proven to keep us safe, and instead investing into community services, mental health programs and other things that we can do to prevent crime,” said Carson Malbrough, who was also in the crowd.
In the wake of violence between Hamas and Israel, some activists took today’s anniversary as an opportunity to renew the connection between the movement for Black lives and the Palestinian movement. Organizers invited a speaker from the Palestinian Youth Movement, Ibrahim Younes, to address the crowd.
“When we stand against police brutality here in the U.S., we are standing against police brutality worldwide, including in Palestine,” said Ibrahim Younes.
This relationship has historical roots. During the Black Power movement of the 1960s and 1970s, some Black activists saw the Palestinians as a kindred people of color, waging the same struggle for freedom and justice as themselves.