Saturday, June 6, 2020

Youth Lead the Way at Fortuna Black Lives Matter Protest

Posted By on Sat, Jun 6, 2020 at 1:00 PM

click to enlarge Wild Souls Ranch Executive Director Savanah McCarthy rides with a Black Lives Matter sign on her horse at Rohner Park in Fortuna while demonstrators gather to protest police brutality and racism on June 5. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Wild Souls Ranch Executive Director Savanah McCarthy rides with a Black Lives Matter sign on her horse at Rohner Park in Fortuna while demonstrators gather to protest police brutality and racism on June 5.

Community members gathered in Fortuna's Rohner Park yesterday to peacefully protest against police brutality and racism.

People gathered on the lawn to listen to the youth of Humboldt County speak about their experiences with racism and what they think needs to be done to make change locally. The demonstration was headed by speeches from Eureka High School students Sophia Chalmers and sisters Amaya and Ayana Watson, as well as Fortuna Mayor Sue Long.

The crowd remained together for about an hour listening to speakers from the community. Fortuna police officers spoke with people before and after the event, but remained at a distance while people spoke.

“My heart is with all those in pain,” Amaya Watson told the crowd, “which is why I encourage everyone here tonight to remain aware and educated of the true intentions of the Black Lives Matter movement.”

Long spoke about a desire to learn from the Black community here in Humboldt, despite some voices in the community expressing doubt about organizing a demonstration in Fortuna.

“There was a lot of angst in planning this event, in stepping up and saying we want to hear what our Black community has to tell us and we want to learn from them, Long said. "We want to learn what it is to walk in their shoes every day because we truly don’t understand.”

Wiyot Tribal Chair Ted Hernandez also attended the event and spoke about the need to listen to the young people in the community.

“You always hear that saying, It takes a village to raise a child," Hernandez said. "Well, today the children are raising us and teaching us about how to change.”

click to enlarge Demonstrators bow thier heads as they observe a moment of prayer to open a protest of police brutality and racism at Rohner Park in Fortuna on June 5. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Demonstrators bow thier heads as they observe a moment of prayer to open a protest of police brutality and racism at Rohner Park in Fortuna on June 5.

click to enlarge Demonstrators listen to speakers while holding signs at Rohner Park in Fortuna on June 5 following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Demonstrators listen to speakers while holding signs at Rohner Park in Fortuna on June 5 following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.
click to enlarge Ayana Watson (left) and her sister Amaya Watson (right) provide suuport for fellow Eureka High School student Sophia Chalmers as she delivers a speech at a demonstration at Rohner Park in Fortuna against racism in June 5. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Ayana Watson (left) and her sister Amaya Watson (right) provide suuport for fellow Eureka High School student Sophia Chalmers as she delivers a speech at a demonstration at Rohner Park in Fortuna against racism in June 5.
click to enlarge A child is held as demonstrators listen to speakers from the community at Rohner Park in Fortuna on June 5. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • A child is held as demonstrators listen to speakers from the community at Rohner Park in Fortuna on June 5.
click to enlarge Fortuna Mayor Sue Long addresses the crowd at Rohner Park regarding the need to fight against racial inequality on June 5. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Fortuna Mayor Sue Long addresses the crowd at Rohner Park regarding the need to fight against racial inequality on June 5.
click to enlarge Demonstrators listen to speakers while holding signs at Rohner Park in Fortuna on June 5 following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Demonstrators listen to speakers while holding signs at Rohner Park in Fortuna on June 5 following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody.
click to enlarge Wiyot Tribal Chair addresses the crowd at Rohner Park and encourages people to educate themselves on matters of racial inequality on June 5 following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Wiyot Tribal Chair addresses the crowd at Rohner Park and encourages people to educate themselves on matters of racial inequality on June 5 following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
click to enlarge Demonstrators gather at Rohner Park to protest police brutality and racism on June 5. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Demonstrators gather at Rohner Park to protest police brutality and racism on June 5.
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