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Black Lives Matter march set for La Jolla on June 12, with local leaders planning to join in

Demonstrators gather in Ramona on June 2 to protest racial inequalities and police violence against black people.
Demonstrators gather in Ramona on June 2 to protest racial inequalities and police violence against black people. A march is scheduled for June 12 in La Jolla.
(Julie Gallant)

A peaceful demonstration in support of the Black Lives Matter movement is planned for La Jolla from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, June 12, with support from local leaders, some of whom plan to attend.

Participants will meet on the grass at La Jolla Cove and march for about 30 minutes toward Windansea Beach. Organizers said there will be breaks with speakers en route.

The event comes as protests against racial inequalities and police violence against black people have spread throughout the country since the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

The demonstration is being organized by Danika Zikas, 17, a recent graduate of Helix High School in La Mesa, a city east of downtown San Diego that was the scene of a large protest May 30 in which rioting broke out.

She said white carnations will be handed out in La Jolla to represent peace and tranquillity.

“We felt as though it was as important to extend beyond the communities of San Diego where there is already awareness and activism,” she said. “Its super important to have people everywhere be aware of the Black Lives Matter movement and the lives lost, and rally for core communal awareness.”

The May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee to his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest, has been at the forefront of renewed outcry, anger and debate over race relations in the United States, both in regard to police and society in general.

San Diego City Council member Barbara Bry, whose district includes La Jolla, where she lives, announced her intention to participate.

“My office has been in contact with the San Diego Police Department and the presidents of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association, Town Council, Community Planning Association, Traffic & Transportation Board, Parks & Beaches Inc., Shores Association and Bird Rock Community Council. As your representative, it is my duty and honor to provide a safe space for all San Diegans,” Bry said in an email to constituents. “La Jolla community leaders and I intend to be present at the gathering on June 12. I am very proud of the way the leaders, especially the Village Merchants Association, are welcoming the students and their peaceful march to La Jolla. We are truly a community that cares about our city and all San Diegans.”

In the same announcement, La Jolla Village Merchants Association President Brett Murphy wrote: “La Jolla Village Merchants Association is, at its core, a group that embraces diversity. Our members are people of all colors, creeds, religions, backgrounds, origins, gender identity and sexual orientation. We strive to be the best we can be and stand with those who are fighting for equality and justice for all.”

He encouraged donations of water, masks and other items to keep participants safe.

Similarly, La Jolla Shores Association President Janie Emerson told the La Jolla Light: “I believe it is up to all of us as Americans to stand up for equality. … It’s way beyond time that discrimination on color/race, like gender, be put to rest. What happened in Minneapolis is disgusting and murder. All Americans need to condemn such actions as criminal and stand together on this. [I hope to achieve] unity of belief, unity under the law, unity as Americans, unity in the sanctity of life.”

Bird Rock Community Council President John Newsam said he plans to participate because “racial equality and equality across gender, religion and sexual persuasion may be built into our laws, but it is not built into the ways in which our laws are enforced, nor in our attitudes and behavior.”

“Recent events have been shocking,” he said. “That shock, though, has made us realize how accepting we have allowed ourselves to become of situations that are not acceptable. The demonstration on Friday, June 12, is an opportunity to gather together, to proclaim that this situation is not acceptable, that there are deep wrongs in our society that we must all work to correct.

“Gathering in a large group, with social distancing and showing proper respect for all of our neighbors by wearing masks, will also remind us of the COVID-19 pandemic situation and of the much greater impact that this has had on those demographics who are least prepared to cope from health, wealth and employment perspectives.”

While in support of the cause, some La Jolla leaders have not committed to attending.

Diane Kane, president of the La Jolla Community Planning Association, said she “was not aware I was participating in this event until I read the announcement” and that she needed to learn more about how social distancing and crowd control would be handled before participating.

“Although I support every American’s right to free speech, share the collective horror everyone has recently endured and applaud the enthusiasm and social consciousness of the young event organizers, I am over 70 and not willing to risk COVID-19 for a protest march,” she said.

La Jolla Parks & Beaches President Ann Dynes said that “while it appears that most demonstrators are being responsible, joining a large group of any kind at my husband’s and my age is simply unwise. But I plan to somehow find a location along the route to socially distance and support their message to end racism in our precious country. I am very alarmed to be experiencing this crisis, given what many of us do every day to improve the lives of San Diegans of all classes and color. It is not enough.”