Saturday night was supposed to be a peaceful protest against police violence, but instead became a movement of people rampaging through the streets of Santa Ana. Our city is now among those whose demonstrations were declared riots since George Floyd died under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer last week.
What will these riots accomplish in the end? Yes, I am upset about racial injustice too, but we’re already dealing with a viral pandemic that requires people to stay away from each other. And now to see senseless groups of people using violence and flooding the streets? I understand the anger for what the police did in Minneapolis, but using a protest as an excuse to enact behavior like looting and destroying businesses is ridiculous.
It feels like history is repeating itself. Seeing people break windows, start fires and tag up buildings first hand reminds me of images of the L.A. Riots. The police officers involved in arresting both Rodney King and George Floyd were caught on film. Only after the wide distribution of the videos, did people go crazy. To see this actually happen within a time where the world is in a state of paralysis because of COVID-19 is nothing short of historical. Time will only tell how this nation will handle the crisis that we are dealing with.
Protestors: please, let’s keep it peaceful for everyone sake. We’re already living in a world of chaos and we cannot allow anger and emotion to dominate our ethics. I want justice as much as everyone else out there fighting, but we must do it without violence. We must make logical decisions in these times of crisis, for everyone’s future.
Express your feelings in the marches, scream the chants with burning passion with your community peacefully at your side, but do not allow yourself to be impulsive in the moment.
It is true that Sunday brought mostly preaceful protests to Downtown Santa Ana and this week people gathered without violence in dozens of cities across Orange County. These bring hope, which I am thankful for.
Let’s keep that positivity going. We can’t allow a protest to become a riot that destroys our community. We are the only ones who will have to deal — both emotionally and financially — with the aftermath of the chaos we cause.
As Martin Luther King once said: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”