Hundreds of protesters shut down the streets in central Dublin on Monday afternoon, as Tri-Valley residents joined the numerous communities throughout the country that have risen up in protests against police brutality.
Inspired by the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis on Memorial Day, Dublin protesters came out in a show of solidarity against police brutality, racism and complacency toward injustice.
Dublin resident and event organizer Hannah Keihl said she "doesn't speak for everyone in the group," but to her the protest was "really a way to fight against the complacency that I can feel in myself and the community regarding black lives, regarding police, regarding injustice."
Primarily led and organized by local youth activists, Hannah explained that the protest's leaders met organically online and came together out of a desire to do something about the current situation unfolding across the country.
"We're a group of organizers, no one person has contributed more or less than the others," she added. "It's been a cooperative effort from people who are also Dublin residents to have a show of solidarity that police brutality violence aren't limited to larger cities, that Dublin is no exception and to have a show of solidarity even in the suburbs."
Prior to the start of the march -- which took participants from Emerald Glen Park to the Dublin Civic Center and police station -- organizers held a rally where local leaders and advocates shared inspiring words and reviewed the plan for the day.
During the rally organizers gave instructions and advice to those in attendance, strictly informing protesters that this was a non-violent gathering and any counter protesters attempting to cause trouble should be ignored.
Organizers further provided attendees with water, snacks and masks -- also recommending that those in attendance follow social-distancing as much as possible, in order to curtail any spread of COVID-19.
Dublin Mayor David Haubert was one of the local leaders in attendance at the rally -- also joining the protests for a part of the march -- and briefly addressed attendees before the march began.
"I have been in contact with many mayors and colleagues around the country and in close contact with every mayor here in Alameda County and certainly in the Tri-Valley, we are all disgusted at what happened to George Floyd. We all recognize that is not what we are about anywhere here and we decry that activity," Haubert said. "To the people that are here protesting for positive change, ending racism, furthering social justice and wiping out social inequality, we support that in a peaceful way. We hear you, we stand with you."
Addressing reports of looting that have occurred throughout the Bay Area and country, Haubert added: "The last thing that I have to say is, if anybody is here or later this afternoon is here for other reasons to do harm or otherwise detract from that positive message, then I would ask them to go home. This is not a place for them to be."
After the rally protesters took to the streets, chanting rallying cries of "Black Lives Matter", "No Justice No Peace" and yelling the name of George Floyd.
As opposed to some other demonstrations in the Bay Area and throughout the country that resulted in looting and police violence, Dublin's gathering was a peaceful one and included a police escort courtesy of Dublin Police Services personnel, who closed roadways in advance of the procession.
After nearly an hour of marching and chanting, protesters arrived at the Dublin Boulevard-Dougherty Road intersection, where they took over the street and held an eight-minute moment of silence to represent the amount of time Floyd suffocated while Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck.
While there the procession was met with several lines of local and county police officers, who blocked protesters' access to Interstate-680. Protesters attempted to convince these officers to take a knee with them, however police did not respond to these requests.
After the moment of silence, the procession continued its advance to the Dublin Civic Center and Police Station, where protesters continued chants, before eventually dispersing and heading their separate ways.
There are at least two more Tri-Valley protests planned for this current week, Wednesday in San Ramon protesters will gather at 5 p.m. at the Gale Ranch Plaza, 11000 Bollinger Canyon Road, for a march to City Hall, 7000 Bollinger Canyon Road. Pleasanton residents will also have their chance for a hometown protest at 2 p.m. on Friday, when protesters gather for a march in front of the Amador Valley High School Theater, 1155 Santa Rita Road.
Talking to residents who may want to support the protests, but is unable to attend one in person due to concerns over the coronavirus or other issues, Denel McMahan, President of the Dublin High School Black Student Union, advised residents to stay informed and keep talking about the issues.
"Continue posting about it (on social media) and continue learning about it. Become aware and then if you meet anyone who is trying to learn about it you can spread information as well," McMahan said.
"I'm here to protest police brutality that's been happening frequently for the past seven years and I feel that it's about time that people recognize it and everyone's unites to fight against it. I'm here to be a part of that," he added.