Mendocino Marches for Black Lives Matter
June 7, 2020--It’s been two weeks since the brutal police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked ongoing mass protests nationwide to stop police brutality and racism. Communities across Mendocino County have marched in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement calling for Justice for Floyd, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and a shamefully long list of Black Americans whose lives have been stolen by police violence. Last week, a group of young Black and Indigenous women organized a rally in Ukiah that saw 300 mostly youth gather at the courthouse and march to city hall. In Fort Bragg, high school students held a rally that brought a crowd of hundreds to Town Hall holding signs and chanting. Protesters have also gathered in Willits, Boonville and Laytonville.
This Sunday, June 7, locals gathered again to protest Floyd’s murder, in the village of Mendocino. A flyer circulated on social media and posted throughout town called for a Mendocino March in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. A crowd of around 200 gathered in front of Gallery Bookshop on Kasten Street, wearing masks and holding signs. Coastal residents Terilyn Epperson and her daughter came from Fort Bragg to join the march.
Before long, Ui Wesley, who described herself as Indigenous Hawai’ian and European, raised her voice to rally the crowd and begin the march through town to Friendship Park.
It was a gorgeous sunny day in Mendocino. All ages marched with signs and chanted slogans in the streets of the village down main street and around Mendosa’s to Friendship Park. The crowd spanned several blocks, and was large enough to form a circle all around the perimeter off Friendship Park. There, Ui Wesley again spoke to the crowd, calling for a moment of silence for 8 minutes to observe the amount of time white police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck.
A couple of other speakers addressed the crowd at the park, then most people dispersed back to their cars on the other side of town. And although many of the protesters seemed pleased with the day’s events, one young black woman who spoke with KZYX felt more unsetted than empowered by the march of mostly white people in her home town.
There weren’t any visible leaders or organizers of the protest, but there were flyers posted along the march route listing a web address for more information on tear-off tabs: tinyurl.com/MendoSolidarityAction. It led to a google doc with “numerous places to donate to and some courses of action to take.”