BLM protests come to Danville

Peaceful gathering feature masks, social distancing


Photo courtesy of Donya Atashie, Monte Vista High School

High school students participated in this summer’s BLM protest in Danville.

After the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement inspired citizens around the country to fight the injustice of racist police brutality. Three weeks later, Danville citizens showed their support for the movement. 

On June 7, 2020, the first BLM protest was held in Danville against racism and to demand justice for Floyd. Many students attended to show their support for black communities and to fight against racism and police brutality. 

Protesters followed a guided route that circled from San Ramon Valley Boulevard all the way to Hartz Avenue. After the march, several speeches were made at the Danville branch of the Contra Costa County Library.

“The speeches made me realize how lucky I am because others don’t have it as easy as me,” said Monte Vista freshman Liam Clay. “[It] is very upsetting that people can get treated differently because of the color of their skin.” 

The size of the protest was estimated at a hundred people, according to Clay and the Danville police. Many carried signs and banners and the participants were of all ages: teens, adults and seniors. 

Freshman Donya Atashie said, “An eye-opening experience that I witnessed was a four-year-old girl carrying a BLM sign while marching, which shows the unity of generations to fight for a good cause.”

The Danville Police Department kept a lookout to ensure the safety of the general public and property. Chief of Police Allen Shields said he had concerns over potential violence against the protesters, violation of rights, and destruction of property. However, none of this occurred and the protests remained peaceful and required little police involvement. 

While many attended the Danville protests to show their support, not everyone was there for the BLM cause. 

“There was a person who had a Trump hat on who was reciting prayers in some unknown language,” Clay said. “He was saying rituals and prayers, apparently trying to protect us from black people.”

While the protests were peaceful, threats of targeting the demonstrations with looting and burning down properties circled around Twitter, according to Shields. He said the police department prepared for a worst case scenario of looting and violence by preparing a plan on how to deescalate the situation with the right approach.

Protestors also took safety precautions towards maintaining social distancing and wearing masks at all times in order to minimize chances of spreading COVID-19.     

“[At] every single protest that I went to, everyone was wearing masks, and they were pretty socially distanced,” Monte Vista sophomore Aubrey Simpson said.