Photo by Lola M. Chavez

Hundreds of people came out to Dolores Park Friday afternoon for a rally organized by Women’s March San Francisco supporting justice and equality.

“We are not coming together as we should; my sisters and I do not love each other the way we should, and it’s killing me,” Michelle Brown, a black woman who lives in the Bayview, told the multiracial crowd. “Please, tell the black people you know and love that you care.” 

Daniel Deo, a black man who grew up in the Caribbean, told the crowd he was grateful to the women who organized the event.

“I do believe that because of them, change may be coming. Because of them, I may actually raise children who I don’t have to fear every day may die every day because of police,” Deo said adding that in the same way whites do not see the world in the same way that he does, “I have to accept, and black men have to accept, that black women have a very different perspective.”

Two of the organizers — Selam Asmerom and Jessica Madieros — originally met and bonded over images of food on Instagram. Asmerom said they were both moved by the killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, and wanted to do something, but weren’t sure how to move forward. They contacted Women’s March San Francisco, who helped put the rally together.

“The truth is, women are afraid of each other,” said 17-year-old Tiana Day, who graduated high school only three days ago. 

Day co-organized Saturday’s protest on the Golden Gate Bridge. She asked to participate after seeing flyers advertising the event

“Women are judgmental, and we are constantly comparing ourselves to each other,” Day told the crowd. “We measure wealth in dollars and Louis Vuitton bags. Why can’t we measure wealth in success in our core beliefs and values? Why can’t those be the things that make you rich in life?”

Organizers asked the crowd to recite the names of victims of police violence — including Breonna Taylor, Sean Monterrosa, and Floyd — before taking a moment of silence in memory of Floyd, whose death at the hands of police in Minneapolis sparked a nationwide uprising. The crowd remained silent for the length of time former-officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck: Eight minutes and 46 seconds.

Organizers also spoke about the need to be inclusive of the trans community, citing Tony McDade and other transgender people who were victims of police brutality.

“As a Latina, I feel like it’s really important for me to show up,” said 13-year-old attendee Isabel Castillo. “Just showing that I am here, I support you, I am with you, is really important.”

Attendees of Castillo’s age were not an anomaly.

Ten-year-old Naimah Broussard shared her story of police discrimination with the crowd. She described how an officer told her family they couldn’t ride skateboards in a parking lot, but then backed down when he saw her father’s fire department badge.

“He let us go because my dad was a fire officer,” she said. “But if he wasn’t a fire officer, he would have probably never let us go, and I just wanted to say that. Black lives matter.”

Virtually everyone at the event wore a mask. Although many were respectful of physical distancing, it wasn’t always possible to maintain six feet of separation.

“Be the change, lead with love,” Day said as the crowd broke up just after 5:30 p.m.

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FREELANCER. Madison Alvarado is a Bay Area native who recently graduated from Duke University. She fell in love with reporting in high school, and after a brief hiatus is eager to continue learning and growing as a storyteller. She has been covering UCSF's Grand Rounds since the summer of 2020.

Michael Toren is a reporter in San Francisco. He can be reached at michael.toren@gmail.com

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