Give Peace a Chance

On Sunday morning, vans, buses and cars full of activists arrived in Anaheim to collectively demonstrate against police brutality, exactly one year from the day Manuel Diaz was fatally shot and killed by the city’s police.

Groups as far north as Marin County, and as far east as the state of Indiana were actively present, some with banners, others with hand-held signs, while others wore T-shirts commemorating their lost beloveds.

To the regular and uniformed passer-by, the large crowd on Center Street might have come across as intimidating and perhaps unnecessary, but unorganized they were not.  A.N.S.W.E.R. Los Angeles, an organization that primarily campaigns to end war and racism, setup large speakers on a truck, tables on the sidewalks by City Hall, accompanied by posters telling the stories of numerous victims.

A.N.S.W.E.R Los Angeles

One large display featured the case of Everardo Torres, a “rising star in boxing,” whose promising career came to an abrupt end when he was shot and killed, while handcuffed, by an officer in Madera, Calif.  The family’s poster in Spanish read, “We’ve been trying to fight for justice for 11 years.  The first trial will be held on October 1, 2013, please support our cause.”

The Story of Everardo Torres

Everardo Torres’ story told through posters.

And like the Torres family, several others were there to inform the masses of the unjustified actions committed by police officers nationwide.  The mothers of the two Anaheim men that were killed on the weekend of July 21, 2012, Genevieve Huizar and Donna Michelle Castro, were also present.

When Huizar was asked about the day’s turnout, she responded, “It’s powerful in the message that we are uniting for justice.  We cannot stop fighting for justice while our sons and daughters are being killed by cops.”

Joel Acevedo’s mother, Donna, strongly stated that she wanted the event to remain “peaceful.”

The crowd started their march down Anaheim Blvd.

The crowd started their march down Anaheim Blvd.

And peaceful it remained, as they began marching down Anaheim Boulevard, then making their way to Broadway, heading to the Anaheim Police Department.   Street traffic was contained by officers on motorcycles and police cars, while a police helicopter circled the area.photo(43)

Once in front of the police department, A.N.S.W.E.R. allowed families to speak about their story.

Castro strongly encouraged the public to vote, to join city council meetings, and addressed her support for district elections in the city of Anaheim.

“Together we can make change happen,” Castro reinforced.

The rally lasted about six hours and no one was reportedly hurt, however, one was arrested for suspicion of graffiti.   Last year’s protest resulted in businesses suffering broken windows, a robbery at the local T-Shirt store, trash fires and about 22 arrests.

Window gazing

Even people indoors wanted to watch.