Catalina Island residents held a memorial on June 3, to express support for the Black Lives Matter demonstrations that have been going on across the country and in other parts of the world, since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25.
The event included a prayer, led by Enrique Dominguez, pastor of the Singing Waters Christian Center, followed by a few words from Avalon councilmember Yesenia Sarahi De La Rosa in Spanish. Community member Bryce Noll added some thoughts in English and the event then held a moment of silence. Councilmember Lisa Lavelle also spoke and encouraged people to check out Campaign Zero’s #8cantwait initiative which can found at 8cantwait.org.
“We specifically wanted to bring the community together for a memorial and to talk about peace and encourage useful and thoughtful discussions around race in Avalon,” Blanca Alvarez, one of the event organizers said.
Organizers noted that the event was carefully planned, along with direction from the sheriff’s department, in order to keep it orderly and peaceful. Due to the riots and looting that have happened alongside other protests, organizers said that there was little promotion of the event until after the last boat left for the mainland, in order to keep it more for residents.
Organizers noted that Captain John Hocking of the sheriff’s department was consulted and was helpful in working with them during the event to make sure it was following social distancing orders and peacefulness.
“This event made me hopeful for the future of Avalon and the ways that community members can actively engage in important issues such as this,” Carly Sabicer said.
Editor’s note: A photo and caption about the event in the June 5 issue of the Catalina Islander noted that the event was “mostly peaceful.” Some organizers and attendees objected to the word “mostly” stating that the event was entirely peaceful. The Islander is happy to acknowledge the distinction.