Fresno, Calif. (KSEE) — Community leaders and activists in Southwest Fresno on Saturday protested against police brutality and for a stop to the violence in Fresno.
The protest started at Saint Rest Baptist Church and ended at the Hinton Community Center, where several people spoke about their experiences and the changes they want to see.
“I don’t know about y’all, but my little brother was shot by the police, he’s paralyzed, his spleen is ruptured, he won’t ever walk again,” said Pastor Joby Jones. “We was raised to fear the police, we was taught ‘don’t mess with them, don’t do nothing with them.’”
For eight seconds, people kneeled for a moment of silence, for the eight minutes the police officer kept his knee on George Floyd’s neck.
“We all want the same things in life, I just want to make it, I just want my kids not to go through what I went through,” Jones said.
While they protested against police brutality, they were also fighting against violence in Fresno.
“Our own crime against each other, speaking just primarily to the black community and how we kill each other off, those are the same social injustice, racial injustice that we face within our own community,” said Derwoyne Redmond Jr., a coach and mentor in southwest Fresno.
City Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria was there and said it was important for her to be there to hear what changes the black community wants to see.
“Over the next four weeks, the City Council will have an opportunity to vote on a budget and we all know that budgets reflect the priorities of a community,” Soria said. “I think this is an opportunity that our black community feels like they’re being heard but not only that they’re being heard, that they are invested in so that they too have the same opportunities to be successful here in the city of Fresno.”
Redmond said city leaders need to be able to develop relationships with the community in southwest Fresno in order to bring about real change.
“Really hear people’s cries and outpours. It’s one thing to listen and then respond, it’s another thing just to listen and then generate a response from what you listened to,” Redmond said. “As long as we start doing that, things can get better. I know for sure it’s not gonna be tomorrow, next week or maybe within this year, but it has to start becoming a process.”