By Jeremy Arias
Cheers echoed for blocks around Mariachi Plaza the last time I was there. There were more smiles, songs, dances, burning sage, and beats of the danza drum. Several weeks of solitude and quarantine have been broken here. We finally broke through the seals of our quarantine after several weeks, not because we wanted to, but because we had to.
I was wondering what the first major gathering I would attend following the COVID-19 Pandemic. I thought I’d go to a concert, getting my skull busted in a mosh pit, or maybe classroom. I didn’t think I would be slapping on a face mask and marching to Mariachi Plaza to mourn the death of George Floyd, an innocent soul lost to the hands of police brutality.
At the protest, members of the community told the stories of their loved ones lost to the brutality of the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Boyle Heights is a community of many colors, we relate to the struggle in our own ways. People from every corner of the community gathered at Mariachi Plaza not to listen to music and celebrate, but to listen to each other and unite over our unfortunate similarities.
The space that previously brought us together for laughs and cheers now hosted our grief and tears. Together we marched to the streets of Downtown Los Angeles under the stare of riot shields and combat boots. We know. We know they know. Black Lives Matter.
Our current system is biased against us and it is important that we aren’t biased against each other. Yes, all lives do matter, and the protests aren’t limited to black people’s rights. There is a presence of tyranny in our country and we have to look after each other, otherwise we will be divided when the hammer of oppression is dropped in our direction. It might not have been you today, but if we watch each other fall there will be no one left standing to help us back up.
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