Hundreds join Black Lives Matter, police reform march (VIDEO/PHOTO GALLERY) | TheUnion.com
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Hundreds join Black Lives Matter, police reform march (VIDEO/PHOTO GALLERY)

Hundreds marched in downtown Grass Valley over the weekend in a show of solidarity, seeking justice for the death of George Floyd and advocating for police reform.

People carrying signs stating “Black Lives Matter,” “Defund the Police” and “White Supremacy Out of Nevada County” were seen during the peaceful Saturday protest.

The event, scheduled to take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., began in front of the Del Oro Theatre before hundreds marched to the sidewalks in front of the Grass Valley Police Department on South Auburn Street. They then returned to the Del Oro.

Protesters kneeled and observed eight minutes of silence while in front of the police station, signifying the amount of time Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on the neck of George Floyd.

Following the moment of silence, organizers used a megaphone to lead chants including, “Hey hey, ho ho, racist cops have got to go” and “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now! And if we don’t get it? Shut it down!”

Though the protesters joined the now worldwide marches for police reform, organizers had little to say about racism experienced from local law enforcement but rather from members of the community.

“Not so much from the local police,” Chicago Park’s Camille Plumadore said. “But I have been called the ‘n-word’ by people.”

“I think the police here are really good,” Chicago Park’s Semeria Bjorkman said. “They’re less corrupt than others.”

The two spent most of Saturday morning handing off the megaphone and leading chants and marches between the Del Oro Theatre and the Grass Valley Police Department.

A police presence was at a minimum during the event, though there were complaints of protesters blocking the streets at times.

“For us, we’re tired,” Bjorkman said. “And now the whole world is tired. There seriously needs to be systematic change.”

Other protesters elaborated on their issues with racism in Nevada County.

“Living in rural Nevada County, white supremacy is something we always have to deal with,” Justin Riley said. “The way the counter-protesters come through, they’re our neighbors and it’s something we deal with daily.

“Me, as a white person and a Euro American, I fear for my own safety. I can only imagine what our neighbors of color feel,” he added.

To contact Multimedia Reporter Elias Funez, email efunez@theunion.com, or call 530-477-4230.


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