Protesters turn out in call for unity in Coronado, La Mesa

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A weekend of peaceful protests in support of racial equality continued Sunday with bikers in La Mesa and babies and their moms in Coronado, among other gatherings planned for the afternoon.

About 150 motorcyclists participated in a unity ride from Oak Park to police headquarters in La Mesa at 1 p.m. to join up with another group of protesters gathering to demonstrate against racism and police brutality.

An organizer for the ride said they hoped to set an example of unity. The event welcomed riders from all clubs who wanted to participate.

The demonstration is intended to be a non-violent call for change in law enforcement and official accountability for several widely condemned police encounters that played out recently in the eastern San Diego County city.

“We are Peaceful!,” organizer Tasha Williamson posted on Twitter. “We are Unified! We Want JUSTICE!”

At 1:40 p.m., after the motorcyclists began arriving at police headquarters, La Mesa Police Chief Walt Vasquez and other officers hugged and shook hands with some of the protesters.

About 200 protesters gathered in a circle around multiple speakers in the parking lot in front of police headquarters. Some in the audience carried signs such as “Defund the Police” and Black Lives Matter flags. Some of the bikers stayed seated on their motorcycles. Many in attendance wore face coverings. The group applauded and cheered as a microphone was passed between speakers.

At 2:30 p.m., the La Mesa Police Department tweeted that the peaceful event remained in progress and estimated a crowd of about 200 protesters. Many of the motorcyclists began to leave the area by then.

At 10 a.m. in Coronado, more than 100 people turned out at Spreckles Park for a “Baby’s First Black Lives Matter Protest” organized by Ellie Coburn and featuring activism storytime, music, dancing and voices of black motherhood.

“We had a beautiful turnout,” Coburn told City News Service. “We had the opportunity to listen to some incredible mama speakers speak on black motherhood and the founder of SD Peaceful Protests speak on the importance of early race awareness.”

She said participants heard the reading of a storybook on activism, danced and sang to empowerment music by black artists, taught the kids how to do protest chants and engage in about an hour of “art, bubbles and community.”

“This event for families with young children is so important because we know that children establish a lifetime of racial biases by just five years old,” Coburn said. The event lasted about 90 minutes.

The group is planning another event on June 28 in North County.

At noon in Pacific Beach, “Walk for Equality” protesters met at the Crystal Pier march.

At 2 p.m., a Black Lives Matter march began at the San Diego Zoo and planned to end up at the San Diego Police Department headquarters at 1401 Broadway.

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