People of all races and ages lined a stretch of 10th Street in Colusa last week for a peaceful protest to advocate for racial justice.
About 150 people of all ages and ethnicities held signs to support Black Lives Matter, following the death of George Floyd, an African American man who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, who was caught on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
The June 10 protest in Colusa was organized by local teens, who invited residents to join them in a peaceful demonstration. A number of people held signs that called for change in policing policies. Several protesters held or waved American Flags. The message of one sign was clear: All lives can’t matter unless black lives do.
Several people who attended the protest said they were shocked by trolling on Facebook prior to the event, including a racially-charged alteration of the original flyer. There were also threats made that counter-protestors would disrupt the protest, and a few false-bravado offers to place manure or bee boxes along the sidewalks where protestors plan to state the event.
Former Williams Upper Elementary School Principal, Denise Conrado, said the event was organized by teens just out of high school who only had concern and love in their hearts.
“Haters said that Antifa would show up. Busloads of rabble-rousers would show up and cause mayhem in our tiny town,” Conrado posted to social media, immediately after the event. “Instead, it was more than 150 young and old promoting the end to racism, and equal justice for all.”
Abel Gomez, of Arbuckle, said he was proud of the local youth to stand up and be heard.
“Tomorrow is now,” Gomez said. “This is your country, your county, your cities, and towns. Change comes with hard work and determination.” Gomez said that equality makes a better world for everyone, and respect for each other will make “this a better place for all.”
The two-hour protest, originally scheduled from 3 PM, was moved to 5 PM, when Market Street traffic would include people getting off work.
Williams Mayor Alfred Sellers, the second African-American to serve on the City Council, attended the peaceful protests last week in Williams and Colusa.
Sellers said he was genuinely surprised and happy to see the large number of young people who came together to be a part of the Colusa event, and to take a stand for peaceful change.
“I am really impressed,” Sellers said. “It’s very much appreciated.”
Except for people who screeched tires or made offensive hand gestures, the overwhelming majority of people driving through the street-lined block between Fremont and Parkhill cheered, waved, and honked their horns in support.
“I am extremely humbled by the way that our community came together despite the backlash and antagonism that was shown online from certain citizens who were opposed to this event,” said LA Ferreira, after the event. “Their attitude truly instilled fear in many of us who thought that they would show up and create problems based on their hideous comments online. Thankfully their threats did not materialize and we were able exercise our freedom of speech in peace.” ■