On Thursday evening, crowds gathered outside Mission High School to denounce police violence and to honor the lives of two of the youngest black men killed by officers.
Roger Allen, a 44-year-old San Francisco native, was shot and killed in the chest by a Daly City police officer on April 7 after authorities alleged a dispute over the officers’ firearm. It was actually a replica weapon.
Days later, 20-year-old Daunte Wright was killed by police during a traffic obstruction in Minneapolis, just a few miles from the courthouse, where the ongoing trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who killed George Floyd last year, is taking place.
The march also took place the day Chicago police released a video showing the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo as he stood up with his hands up, causing widespread horror and outrage.
“I think it is really important that we emerge as a community to keep everyone else in our grief and also to call for the defunding and abolition of the police, prisons and the prison industrial complex as a whole,” said Aditi Joshi, organizer at Defund SFPD Well said the group that hosted the night’s events.
Opening speeches by Joshi and others reminded protesters that this was a peaceful event and gave them information on what to do if they are arrested.
But another message was also made clear by the organizers of the night, calling for the police to be de-financed as a stop on the road to the complete abolition of the police.
The condition? These communities protect themselves, not law enforcement.
Chants of “We protect ourselves!” wavy through the crowd.
Joshi urged the Board of Supervisors, Mayor London Breed and other elected leaders to segregate money from law enforcement and divert it towards social services, housing and community health, among other things.
“Our budget reflects our values, and our city chooses to fund violence,” she said.
About a few hundred people marched down 18th Street, followed by shouts of support from passers-by raising their hands in solidarity, drivers honking their horns, and the now familiar chants of “no justice, no peace”.
They ended at the San Francisco Police Department mission station, where officers lined the building’s brick facade, stood behind guardrails, and put on helmets.
The crowd gathered in front of the train station. Most of the participants gathered in the middle of Valencia Street, where the chants continued and music played over a loudspeaker.
However, some stood closer to the guard rails and addressed their comments directly to officers.
One of these women was Talika Fletcher, Allen’s sister.
“You can go home. My brother is in a morgue right now, ”she said, and told the protesters to keep their distance to ensure their own safety.
As the night grew later, the crowd slowly dwindled.
The speakers called and reflected on their own experiences.
One of these speakers was Maria Cristina Gutierrez, who goes from Mama Cristina. As the founder of Mothers on the March, a local organization to fight police violence, she called for “unity” and “clarity” between all people fighting for a more peaceful future.
“I am sad, but not defeated,” she told the examiner before her remarks. “We are the givers of life. So we have a duty to fight for life. “
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