Monday, July 6, 2020

Scenes from the Black Lives Matter Protest March on 4th of July

Posted By on Mon, Jul 6, 2020 at 10:47 AM

click to enlarge Robert Williams, 47, a veteran with the U.S. Air Force, waves a Black Lives Matter flag at Catalina Park during the Black Lives Matter protest in Tucson, Ariz., on Saturday, July 4, 2020. - JOHN DE DIOS
  • John de Dios
  • Robert Williams, 47, a veteran with the U.S. Air Force, waves a Black Lives Matter flag at Catalina Park during the Black Lives Matter protest in Tucson, Ariz., on Saturday, July 4, 2020.

Noelani Betters, a 15-year-old Tucsonan, organized two Black Lives Matter protests in Tucson for Saturday, July 4, 2020. Betters led the first protest that started at Tucson City Hall that grew to roughly around 60 protesters of mostly young people, as they marched to the University of Arizona campus, before meeting up with a second and much larger group at Catalina Park, located on 941 North 4thAvenue. 


Betters, armed with a megaphone, was surrounded hundreds of protesters she’s met at other Black Lives Matter protests since the beginning of June. Chanting “No Justice, No Peace” and other more pointed messages, the first group marched toward Catalina Park, encouraged by honking cars, and members of the public that cheered them on from businesses and surrounding apartments, including high-rises at the UArizona. Flanked by a sizable police escort led by Sergeant Mitch Vipond from the Tucson Police Department’s community networking team, the protest continued to grow bigger and louder before they wound through Downtown Tucson into the early evening on Saturday. 


“I want equality. This is supposed to be Independence Day, but no one is independent,” Betters said. “There are people in cages, Indigenous women are disappearing, people are getting sprayed with deadly chemicals (by the police).”


One of the other young people who took the front of the line for Saturday’s protest was Isabelle Mundo, 19. Mundo, a University of Arizona student, said she has been protesting since the beginning of June when protests erupted across the country after footage of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of former and disgraced Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin went viral on social media.


“We live in a diverse community and we need to support all of those who are oppressed by White Supremacy,” Mundo said. She, who is originally from Northern Arizona, said she has always been active online with social causes, but has wanted to become more active in person. Attending the university has given her the opportunity to become more involved and active within the community.


One of the protesters that joined at Catalina Park was retired air force airman Robert Williams, 47.


“Black Lives Matter,” he said, brandishing a Black Lives Matter flag high overhead.


The protest grew even larger as it wound around Downtown Tucson, after merging with a third group that was protesting to draw attention to the brutal killing of Fort Hood Private First-Class Officer Vanessa Guillen. The protest worked its way back to Catalina Park where the leaders thanked the many attendees with fireworks exploding overhead in the distance.

click to enlarge Noelani Betters, 15, checks her social media for updates and messages from volunteers and other protesters. Betters organized two of the events on Saturday, having been motivated by Protests for Change on the Social Media application TikTok. “I want equality, this is supposed to be Independence Day, but no one is independent,” Betters said. “There are people in cages, Indigenous women are disappearing, people are getting sprayed with deadly chemicals (by the police).” - JOHN DE DIOS
  • John de Dios
  • Noelani Betters, 15, checks her social media for updates and messages from volunteers and other protesters. Betters organized two of the events on Saturday, having been motivated by Protests for Change on the Social Media application TikTok. “I want equality, this is supposed to be Independence Day, but no one is independent,” Betters said. “There are people in cages, Indigenous women are disappearing, people are getting sprayed with deadly chemicals (by the police).”

click to enlarge Eighteen-year-old Brysen, who did not want to give his full name, holds a megaphone and talks to the crowd of protesters at Catalina Park, located at 941 N 4th Ave., about where to go and what to do while marching on Saturday, July 4, 2020.  Brysen, who was not involved in organizing the event, was a prominent speaker at the protest. He coordinated with both protesters and police officers throughout the day as they marched around Tucson. - ALAN SCOTT DAVIS
  • Alan Scott Davis
  • Eighteen-year-old Brysen, who did not want to give his full name, holds a megaphone and talks to the crowd of protesters at Catalina Park, located at 941 N 4th Ave., about where to go and what to do while marching on Saturday, July 4, 2020. Brysen, who was not involved in organizing the event, was a prominent speaker at the protest. He coordinated with both protesters and police officers throughout the day as they marched around Tucson.



click to enlarge Leigh-Ann Salazar and Tanner Childress sit and wait amongst their fellow Black Lives Matter protesters at Catalina Park, located at 941 4th Ave., on July 4, 2020. This was Childress’ first BLM protest and Salazar’s third. “I went to the protest in Huntington Beach, Phoenix and now this one,” Salazar said. “What makes this different is that, I’ve lived here for three years now and this is my home. This is where I met my boyfriend. My life is here.” - ALAN SCOTT DAVIS
  • Alan Scott Davis
  • Leigh-Ann Salazar and Tanner Childress sit and wait amongst their fellow Black Lives Matter protesters at Catalina Park, located at 941 4th Ave., on July 4, 2020. This was Childress’ first BLM protest and Salazar’s third. “I went to the protest in Huntington Beach, Phoenix and now this one,” Salazar said. “What makes this different is that, I’ve lived here for three years now and this is my home. This is where I met my boyfriend. My life is here.”

click to enlarge One of the protesters gives a speech to the crowd as they sit and rehydrate at the corner of Congress Street and Granada Avenue in Downtown Tucson on Saturday, July 4, 2020. After the speech, the protesters marched through the narrow streets of downtown where their voices echoed off the buildings and the ground vibrated under their stomping feet. - ALAN SCOTT DAVIS
  • Alan Scott Davis
  • One of the protesters gives a speech to the crowd as they sit and rehydrate at the corner of Congress Street and Granada Avenue in Downtown Tucson on Saturday, July 4, 2020. After the speech, the protesters marched through the narrow streets of downtown where their voices echoed off the buildings and the ground vibrated under their stomping feet.

click to enlarge With hundreds of protesters behind her, Betters lead the protest through Downtown Tucson before making her way back to Catalina Park. - JOHN DE DIOS
  • John de Dios
  • With hundreds of protesters behind her, Betters lead the protest through Downtown Tucson before making her way back to Catalina Park.
click to enlarge Lily Pavy, 24, dons an “I can’t breathe” mask during the rally, a call back to the last words uttered by George Floyd before he was killed by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Pavy, who works at the Tucson Wildlife Center, found out about the rally through Social Media said, “I’m glad to see people take the Fourth of July to come out and fight for what they believe in.” - JOHN DE DIOS
  • John de Dios
  • Lily Pavy, 24, dons an “I can’t breathe” mask during the rally, a call back to the last words uttered by George Floyd before he was killed by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Pavy, who works at the Tucson Wildlife Center, found out about the rally through Social Media said, “I’m glad to see people take the Fourth of July to come out and fight for what they believe in.”
click to enlarge Black Lives Matter protests organized by 15-year-old Noelani Betters marched from Catalina Park, located on 941 N 4th Ave, to Downtown Tucson where they were joined by third group honoring murdered Fort Hood soldier Private First Class Natalia Guillen whose remains were recently found after months of searching. The protests wound around Downtown Tucson flanked by a police escort before making its way back to Catalina Park. - ALAN SCOTT DAVIS
  • Alan Scott Davis
  • Black Lives Matter protests organized by 15-year-old Noelani Betters marched from Catalina Park, located on 941 N 4th Ave, to Downtown Tucson where they were joined by third group honoring murdered Fort Hood soldier Private First Class Natalia Guillen whose remains were recently found after months of searching. The protests wound around Downtown Tucson flanked by a police escort before making its way back to Catalina Park.
click to enlarge A protester wears a white shirt with dates and names of those killed by police across the United States written on the back. The protester did not want to identify himself, but walked for the entire protest. - JOHN DE DIOS
  • John de Dios
  • A protester wears a white shirt with dates and names of those killed by police across the United States written on the back. The protester did not want to identify himself, but walked for the entire protest.

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