LONG BEACH — About 70 people marched from Seaview to Long Beach Saturday, June 20, to show solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement.

The march was the culmination of four days of protests in at the corner of Sid Snyder Drive and Pacific Way South. The protest was organized in response to protests across the country calling for police reform after the death of George Floyd, an African American man, who was killed by police while being arrested on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The protests began Wednesday, June 17 with about 45 people. People who passed honked horns in support. One yelled to social distance because of covid-19.

Long Beach City Council Member Sue Svendsen was at the event as well as Nan Malin, chair of the Pacific County Republicans, and Tiffany Turner, who sits on the Board of Directors for Ocean Beach School District.

To make real, systemic change, white people need to lift up diverse voices in the local community, Turner said. She added she wanted to recruit more people of color to the school board and would “willingly give up my seat” to make the board more representative of the district.

Malin said she was invited to join the protest and accepted because she wanted to show that there wasn’t a party divide when it came to standing up against racism. Malin raised a racially blended family and she said it was incredibly important to introduce children to people from different backgrounds to help prevent prejudices from growing. The younger generation gives her hope in the fight against racism, she said.

“I think this is the generation that is going to do it,” Malin said. “Because our grandparents are passing away.”

Natalie Hanson said it was her first ever protest. She spent years working in politics and hadn’t be able to attend things in the past, she said.

“We need to see change. We started doing this way back when and we never really changed. We need change,” Hanson said.

Meg Parsons moved to Long Beach about two years ago from Albany, New York. She identified with Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African-American woman, who was shot and killed by Louisville Metro Police Department officers in March while officers executed a no-knock warrant. Parsons was subject to a no-knock warrant while she was living in New York.

Parsons led the eight minutes of silence on Saturday at the end of the march, which finished at Pacific Avenue South and Third Street Southeast. The protests motivated her to create a new non-profit organization in Pacific County called Friend of Diversity. The goal is to educate people on the topics of racial and social equality while facilitating positive change in the local community, she said.

“I saw the corruption on the local level,” Parsons said. “I’ve just always been a defender of justice. I’m here because we need change.”

Luke Whittaker is a staff writer for Coast River Business Journal and the Chinook Observer. Contact him at 360-642-8181 or lwhittaker@crbizjournal.com.

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