At about 1 p.m. Wednesday when roughly 200 people began marching from Almansor Park to Alhambra’s City Hall. The 1.4 mile walk in 95-degree heat was in support of Black lives – specifically that Black Lives Matter and should be treated with the same respect, equality and justice that much of the rest of society is afforded.
This march was Alhambra’s contribution to the protests that have been sweeping the nation – and world – in reaction to the high-profile killing in Minneapolis of a Black man by police officers on Memorial Day. George Floyd died of asphyxiation – after having an officer kneel on his neck for almost nine minutes – while being arrested.
Wednesday’s peaceful protest was coordinated by a few Alhambra Unified School District students, who thought they needed to do something here, at home. Social media and word of mouth was used to generate interest for the march.
Alhambra Police Department was notified by the students of the march plans around 4 p.m. Tuesday and Lt. Tai Seki told Alhambra Source that they were eager to help. The group asked for their support and APD offered escort cars and blocked traffic as the march moved through the city. Officers were present at City Hall, too.
Daniel Flores, one of the coordinators of the march and Alhambra High School senior, said over the phone on Tuesday night that he knew 15 people who were going and was worried about a small turnout. Wednesday morning, he texted Alhambra Source, “Turns out there might be more than a hundred people.” Alhambra Source asked Flores if he was surprised at the turnout. His response: “Very.”
Standing at City Hall under the city seal, protesters gave first-person accounts of injustices they’ve faced, why they’re supporting justice and equality for Black lives and their visions for the future.
Signs of familiar Black Lives Matter – BLM – slogans were not only in English. Many protestors brought non-English signage, mostly Asian languages. The City of Alhambra has a large immigrant population, many of them are non-English speaking, or English is not their preferred language.
After the protest in those same online forums, residents looked encouraged and glad that the protest had gone well, and some asked if others were scheduled.
Other local politicians showed up to support. Council Member Adele Andrade-Stadler was present at Almansor Park. She was seen talking to the student organizers. Sasha Renée Pérez, who is running for city council, completed the march.
Andrea Lofthouse-Quesada, an activist, AHS teacher and former planning commissioner, came prepared with Lysol, hand sanitizer and poster-making supplies.