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Healthcare workers, church group join L.A. police protests Saturday

"All Black Lives Matter" is painted on Hollywood Boulevard
“All Black Lives Matter” is painted on Hollywood Boulevard in front of the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood Saturday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Across Los Angeles Saturday, protesters marched to show outrage over the police killing of George Floyd and also to demand reforms including defunding police and criminal justice reform.

More than a hundred congregants and friends of the Cochran Avenue Baptist Church marched through Mid-Wilshire protesting the treatment of Black people across the country.

At one point Pastor Charles Johnson asked the marchers to take a knee. He then led them in prayer.

“We pray for a public witness to all the injustice that’s in our community,” he proclaimed.

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The marchers headed along San Vicente Boulevard, winding through residential streets with a stop in a neighborhood known as Little Ethiopia. They were heading to the La Brea Tar Pits.

Antoinette Jordan, 50, marched alongside her boyfriend, Quinn. Jordan attends the church and said it was her third protest march.

Throughout these protests, she’s been thinking of her adult sons who are medical caregivers. The last few months have been hard for them.

“You got COVID you gotta worry about, and then you gotta worry about being a Black man,” she said.

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These demonstrations “help give people a voice,” she said. “I learned: The louder you sing, the more audible you are, the better your message comes across.”

Outside the largest jail in Los Angeles County, doctors and medical workers donned their white jackets and took to the streets in downtown on Saturday to protest the treatment of Black people across America. They drew a direct connection between the racial inequities in healthcare with the danger Black people face in jails and on the street.

Chants of “care not cages” and “defund the sheriff” rang through the air as two dozen sheriff’s deputies looked on.

“We coming for your budget!” one speaker yelled. “We coming for your pensions!”

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In the crowd, medical workers spoke about how they have been held up as heroes during the coronavirus pandemic. It led many of them to believe that they should use their platform to speak up about how deadly mass incarceration has been to communities of color.

Sapan Thakur, a physical therapist in Pomona, wore a shirt with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick emblazoned on the front under his white jacket. He said the last several weeks have been an awakening for him about the importance of speaking up.

“I was on the sidelines. I was paying attention but being silent makes you complicit,” he said. “If I can come out on a day off it’s something.”

Some protesters spoke about how challenging it was for their patients to get satisfactory healthcare and felt that more money should be devoted to programs that house people, educate them and keep them healthy.

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“We’re not just here to do no harm, but to stop harm where it’s happening,” said demonstrator Mark-Anthony Clayton-Johnson.


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