On Saturday a whole lot of San Franciscans took to the streets to protest against police brutality.
I moved to San Francisco a few months ago, just as America was reeling from a summer of police violence largely along racial lines. This is not something uncommon around the world. Back home in London the 2011 riots were sparked by the killing of Mark Duggan and the suspicious police stories which came afterwards.
For a lot of Black people in the US the whole situation has us on edge. Nervous to carry on our day to day lives. Since moving to the Bay Area the single scariest moment I’ve had was when walking home one night after bowling. Some police officers decided to shine a massive search light on my friend and I as we headed towards the BART Station. There was no reason for this, we were just walking home. Fear engulfed me because it was a quiet main road (about midnight). No witnesses. It meant they could have done anything or claimed anything. Luckily they just drove on by after temporarily blinding us. The scar of suspicion will sit with me for some time, and it is distressing to think the people sworn to protect me could be the source of such fear.
This is not how things should be. All people should feel safe around the police. To move forward and make change empathy and understanding needs to be forged between communities and the police. Black Lives Matter is important because right now, Black lives do not seem to matter in America.
San Francisco came out strong (even though Santa Con was happening at the same time). It was beautiful to see so many people of all races and ages come out to support the cause. Saturday was a case to prove the doubters wrong. Yes the protests in Oakland may have been larger. That doesn’t matter, San Francisco showed it does care and is ready to fight for change.