Post by Brian on Jul 5, 2020 23:00:26 GMT -8
On our way to Montrose Peace Vigil around 5 p.m. on June 12 and June 19, Anni and I drove by Black Lives Matter protesters on the south side of Foothill Boulevard in Tujunga, in front of the Albertson's near Lowell Avenue -- their numbers had grown to at least three dozen by the second week. On the north side, fewer than ten counter-protesters stood around pickup trucks with Trump signs and American flags. About an hour later, our friend Berit drove by and saw LAPD officers standing in the median between the two groups, but everybody was peaceful.
The time was changed to 1 p.m. for the protest on June 26, and no counter-protesters showed up. Before 1, we saw two people holding signs on the southeast corner of Foothill and Tujunga Canyon Boulevard, then about 20 more in front of the Albertson's parking lot before we turned around and joined Roberta and an ever growing crowd at Tujunga Canyon. An LAPD sergeant approached me on foot, asking who was in charge of the group. I said, "We're leftists, so nobody is really in charge," but pointed to Eric, who had told me he was one of the organizers. The sergeant just asked us to stay on the sidewalk. Later, another man named Eric introduced himself, saying he and his friends had come from the Crenshaw district to sell t-shirts with BLM messages. When we left, we drove behind the CVS Pharmacy and saw three LAPD cruisers in the shade of the back parking lot.
Back at Foothill and Lowell, the crowd had tripled. We found Oss Rae listening to a Black man who stood in the parking lane facing the sidewalk with a bullhorn, talking about some of the Black lives ended by police. A drone hovered overhead. Around 2 p.m., everyone walked west to meet the other group and Anni and I left. I estimate that more than 100 people had gathered by then.
Sunland-Tujunga has a history of successful protests. Residents stopped a gravel pit from being dug in the Big Tujunga wash before I was born in the 1950's. In the early 2000's, they prevented a zoning change that would have allowed a Home Depot store in Sunland. I attended a small rally in front of Bolton Hall organized through Move On to mark one of the early anniversaries of the Iraq invasion. But I've never seen anything like these BLM protests in my 62 years living here.
Eric the organizer told me that his group -- ABRA, which stands for Against Bigotry, Responding with Action -- has private Instagram and Facebook accounts. Apparently, they are so private that they are unsearchable. If anybody has a link to upcoming information about the protests in Tujunga, please post it here.