After a rumor of looting and out-of-towners coming to Santa Clarita on Thursday, local activists planned a separate peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Bridgeport.
PROTEST AT BRIDGEPORT: Over 100 have gathered for separate peaceful Black Lives Matter protest is underway at Bridgeport Park in Valencia.Read More: https://www.hometownstation.com/santa-clarita-news/community-news/hundreds-of-protestors-gather-throughout-valencia-thursday-330688
Posted by KHTS Radio on Thursday, June 4, 2020
The viral social media post claiming over 800 protesters are “being bussed into Santa Clarita” sparked a large response from the community, from boarded-up businesses to a local emergency and 6 p.m. curfew for Thursday which was later rescinded.
Those rumors are what sparked young, local activists to plan a separate protest — a few miles away — marching from Bridgeport Park to the corner of McBean Parkway and Newhall Ranch Road.
Megan Duncan, one of the organizers, moved to Santa Clarita from Virginia when she was young, and experienced a “culture shock.”
“When I moved out here, I noticed there are not a lot of black people,” Duncan said. “I am half black and half white, and I experienced some issues. It is important for this community to understand why we are here today.”
Duncan is demonstrating to pave the way for a better future for her younger brother, and all others that come after her.
“For my little brother and my cousins, they need to know that they are loved and that they are heard,” Duncan said.
The local organizer spoke about the rumors spread on social media, adding they were possibly spread to stop people from coming to the protest.
“A lot of rumors were spread to try and scare people,” Duncan said. “There was going to be a lot of police and possibly the National Guard at the other location, safety was my No. 1 priority.”
Sebastian Cazares, another local activist, was involved with the organizing for the peaceful protest on Saturday near Valencia Boulevard and McBean Parkway but said that the same group of local residents is not involved with the protest Thursday.
“This protest at Bridgeport is local, 100 percent peaceful, and mostly students and young people,” Cazares said. “The other one has a lot of misinformation around it.”
Cazares added the Santa Clarita City Council’s reaction to the social media post was an “aggressive response” to a post he said was not credible.
“A lot of those origins about rioters and looters seem to be fabricated,” Cazares. “The vast majority of people here do not want any issues.”
Harry Reed, 70, spoke to the demonstrators about his decades of activism after getting involved with the civil rights movement “by accident” in 1964.
“I was in Louisiana when I was refused service at a restaurant,” Reed said. “Wound up working with a civil rights attorney until the Ku Klux Klan discovered who I was and what I was doing, and literally ran me out of town.”
The KKK then blew up the office Reed worked in and tried to kill him for the civil rights work, he said.
“But I am still here,” Reed said to the crowd of young demonstrators. “You have the courage to turn out for what you believe is right, and I applaud you for that.’
City Attorney Joseph Montes said during the emergency city council meeting there was “credible evidence” that a large protest was going to occur, supporting the local emergency.
The City of Santa Clarita later reminded the 6 p.m. curfew adding, “In light of the peaceful protests, we have seen today in our City, and in consultation with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the City of Santa Clarita is rescinding the curfew for this evening.”
After hours of demonstrating, the Bridgeport protest has not had any reports of crime or confrontations with law enforcement, all peaceful protests, according to organizers.
When asked for a message she wanted to spread to the community Duncan had one thing to say.
“Just listen and try to be as open as possible,” Duncan said. “Take away any preconceived notions you may have, good or bad.”Do you have a news tip? Call us at (661) 298-1220, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t miss a thing. Get breaking KHTS Santa Clarita News Alerts delivered right to your inbox. Report a typo or error, email Corrections@hometownstation.com
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