America, God Bless (If It's Good To You)

by Daniel Flores

We are all sitting at home in this pandemic, staring at the facts dead in the eye.

Protests that seem to erupt everything from 30 years ago in Los Angeles (Watts Protests in 1965, the Rodney King Protest in 92, and now 2020 Marches for Black Lives Lost) have inspired people to take to the streets to demand equality.

I have been trying to write about these protests for about a week now, but nothing seemed to

sound right.

I continued to research plans that came after the protest began.

Organizations like Campaign Zero, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, and 8-Can’t Wait provide

concrete steps to help create effective change now.

Steps like banning chokeholds, community oversight, and negotiating more fair police union

contracts can help serve as appetizers for a hungry movement.

But it wasn’t until attending the protests at Los Angeles City Hall that words were starting to

make sense on paper.

Being down there with my friends and seeing a crowd of people that looked representative of

Los Angeles’ diversity felt terrific.

I was seeing so many groups of people who brought food and drinks, just to hand out to other people coming to support a common cause supporting fellow Angelenos.

Then, when we started to march from City Hall towards Staples Center, the energy became

palpable. Looking ahead of me, I couldn’t see an end to the crowd, and I couldn’t see the end behind me either.

Cars were moving with the crowd filling the area with music, fireworks, and platforms for leading the chants.

They were reminding us to stay their names: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and the countless other names of black men, women, transgender, and children who have been killed by the police.

My favorite part during the march was when we took a knee as a whole, seeing the crowd drop, like fans doing the wave at a Lakers game.

Being down there, I meditated and thought about what our actions meant on that day, and what change we want to see in the world.

If we can continue pushing then we can continue to shrink the need for the police, because

we are taking care of people’s mental and physical health, demanding enough Housing in LA, and investing in education.

I believe we can do this because of how I felt during that march. While in that crowd, I noticed the general sentiment in the most common chants, “No Justice, No Peace, No Racist Police” (incredibly catchy with the right cadence).

Our chants sent the message that we aren’t fucking around.

Los Angeles isn’t going to let this moment come and go without real change.

These demands to fundamentally change the police department and how we view public

safety in general need to happen

This will help focus my efforts.

Starting with telling all of my fellow Angelenos to support George Gascón for District Attorney to help change the prosecuting priorities in Los Angeles, and support someone who is more

receptive to police punishment.

Also, I will look at different policies we can implement now to help cut down on police brutality, but also imagine how we can get to a world where we wouldn’t need police.

I want to learn more about my city, how different groups are mistreated, and how we can

continue to right the wrongs of our system.

The importance of these protests and marches we see today are opening more eyes to what is wrong in our world. Even refocusing people like myself, on issues we let fall to the background.

This time more than ever, we need to take a look inside ourselves and see how we can help a movement of humanity, help level the playing ground for everyone.

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