Memories of George Floyd, Robert Fuller bring protesters to Palmdale park
At Poncitlan Square in Palmdale, steps away from City Hall where the body of Robert Fuller was found hanging days ago, dozens of people gathered Thursday to demand justice for Fuller and to honor George Floyd, the Black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis.
People stood or sat on the grass and on lawn chairs, holding signs that said “Vote Your Power Back,” “Justice for Robert Fuller,” “Black Lives Matter,” “We Need Subpoena Power” and “Reallocate Police Funds.”
Some wore black T-shirts that read “I Can’t Breathe,” echoing some of the last words Floyd said before he died.
Star-shaped balloons were tied around a tree, where people left bouquets and candles alongside such messages as: “Cops and Klan go hand in hand,” “Defend Black People,” “Investigate Don’t Discriminate,” “Enough is Enough” and “Robert Fuller We Love You.”
Bob Marley’s “War” blasted from speakers.
Jorge, a 26-year-old Palmdale resident who declined to give his last name, sat on the grass holding a sign saying: “No lives matter till Black Lives Matter.”
“What brings me out here today is just this boiled-over event that’s [been] years in the making of systemic racism and oppressed communities being targeted by police,” he said.
He said what happened to Fuller “symbolizes the hate that we have in this valley ... and I’m just done with it. I just want to do my part and be here.”
On June 10, Robert Fuller’s body was found hanging from a tree outside Palmdale City Hall. His death came in the middle of the George Floyd protests and a week after Malcolm Harsch, another Black man, was found hanging from a tree in Victorville, less than 50 miles away. Their deaths shed light on the concerning rise in suicides among Black Americans.
Jorge said he’s attended protests in Palmdale, North Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, downtown L.A., “everywhere I can be.”
Scattered around the plaza, dozens of attendees lay on their stomachs, sat cross-legged or kneeled for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time a white Minneapolis police officer pinned his knee on Floyd’s neck despite his pleading that he couldn’t breath.
Romerra Williams, 53, of Palmdale lay on her stomach and held up a sign that said “Justice for Robert Fuller” and “Black Lives Matter.”
A light breeze blew and all was silent, except for a speech by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. sounding from the speakers.
After the protesters stood, Arthur Calloway II from the Antelope Valley Black Chamber of Commerce urged attendees to vote and keep the movement alive to enact change.
“Let’s make sure we get out there and that we vote with our hearts. Imagine how much change we could have already if we just kept kicking people out that did not listen to us,” he said.
“We have to keep protesting.... My biggest fear is that COVID is going to let up, and we’re going to let football distract us, basketball, Beyoncé and all of the stuff is going to distract us and we’re going to forget in November,” he said.
“We need to turn out for voting ... because that stops us from dying on a tree.”
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