It felt a spooky to grab my camera and walk into a large group of heavily armed National Guard men on Hollywood Boulevard. From what I have been seeing in the media, this was a very dangerous action to undertake.
The reasons to fear the National Guard’s presence instilled by the media couldn’t be farther from what was actually occurring down on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I watched as a soldier in one of the trucks flashed a peace sign to the crowd. It was sincere. I saw another helping an old woman and another helping a homeless person. The were white, black, Asian and Hispanic and they couldn’t be more friendly to the people on the street.
I watched as the protesters came into the area and I went among them too. They too were white, black, Asian and Hispanic. They were peaceful, at least while I was there. I saw the emotion of relief and gratitude move through the crowd when it was announced the other three police officers at the George Floyd killing have been brought up on charges. Meanwhile, the national guard stayed far away and non-threatening, wanting nothing more than for the protest to remain peaceful.
It became so obvious to me that both “sides” that were out there today wanted the same thing. Equal justice for all regardless of race, economic status, religion or sexuality. And they want that in world that is safe… in a world where we all have the same opportunity to create the lives we want to live.
This isn’t the first of the Black Lives Matter protests I’ve been to. I’ve also been to the ones that have turned violent and destructive and the agitators that entered the protest to incite rioting in what was previously a peaceful protest were quite obvious. Their goal was to create maximum chaos and make sure that equal justice, rights and opportunity for all never comes to be.
As arrests are being made we learn a large number of them are from out of town, bussed in to create more conflict. This is a tragedy. Instead of making a wrong right, it compounds it. It isn’t just the damage to property and people, it serves to add fuel to the racial tensions.
Likewise with much of the media coverage. The headlines and narrative always seem to contain a twist that serves only to inflame the situation even more.
Regardless of how this finishes playing out, the world will never be the same again. Let’s make sure it changes for the better. We DO need justice for George and it seems the vast majority of us want it. But we won’t see justice for all until we come together and turn our attention toward the small handful of people seeking to make us fight among ourselves. That is our true enemy… the enemy that wants to ensure none of us have the rights and freedom we all deserve.
See more photos after the break…