Locals denounced Saturday’s Charlottesville terror attack at a rally organized by Food Not Bombs at the post office on Sunday afternoon, and an Indivisible event at the clock tower later that evening. The protests were part of a show of solidarity across the country after President Donald Trump couldn’t bring himself to blame white nationalists when one plowed a car through a crowd in Charlottesville, killing one counter-protester and injuring 19.
Follow your Heart Action Network founder Curtis Reliford offered his speakers when he saw the gathering at the clock tower, and took the mic when an activist explained what the rally was for, in an emotional call to action.
“I don’t feel safe driving through Louisiana and the South with a truck that says ‘PEACE’,” he said, wiping his eyes. “We’re striking and struggling trying to make it in the U.S. … This is the time we act on those positive thoughts.”
Drivers downtown honked in support, and activists said that while the gathering was strong, continued action is needed to address racism locally.
“Just saying ‘unity and peace’ isn’t enough,” said Gabriel Kittle-Cervine, an artist and activist.
Santa Cruz has had its own, sometimes quite famous issues with white supremacists—for example, when KKK members marched in the local Fourth of July parade in 1927. Just this year, fliers promoting “white heritage” were put up at UCSC.
Former mayor Bruce Van Allen said the fight against such racism will continue.
“There’s a long march ahead of all us,” he said.