Black activists and supporters came together Saturday to march the streets of Marina Vista Park in the city of Long Beach in honor of Black History Month.
The rally began at 1 p.m. with around 65 people celebrating and dancing to music ranging from R&B to hip-hop produced by Black artists.
“This should be celebrated by everyone everyday… We are the architect of this nation,” said a Black activist about Black History Month.
Nonprofit organizations served food in takeout boxes with different dietary options as Black performers recited poetry, sang songs and shared their experiences.
American Sign Language interpreters were provided to accommodate deaf audience members as Black speakers addressed the crowd in how they were far from their liberation.
“I’m only two generations away from my grandpa,” they emphasized.
Members of the Social Workers Party were selling literature books on revolutionary Black figures including Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela. Black Lives Matter original designers from LA sold T-shirts to support nonprofit organizations.
Speakers educated people about Marcus Garvey, a revolutionary Black liberationist who coined the term Pan-Africanism which inspired and motivated African Americans to recognize their ancestry and acknowledge that they are united worldwide.
“Events like these are important because we only take an academic approach on Black history, and this goes beyond because it humanizes their experience,” said an OC and Los Angeles adjunct professor.
Another Black activist spoke about the immense pressure he felt being the only African American representation in his predominantly white neighborhood and the negative effect it’s had on his mental health.
The Black organizers also wanted to acknowledge victims of police brutality, including Donte Jordan and Lionel Gibson who were shot and killed by the Long Beach Police Department.
“That’s how you know our names. It’s because of repetition. We have to take it to the streets,” said the founder of Clarity Orange County.
One of the main organizers, Anthony Bryson, a member of the group Caravan 4 Justice, explained the difficulty of organizing rallies is when the police department calls him.
“I found myself in the same position of fighting the same fight my ancestors were fighting,” said Bryson
The final message before the march began, said by a 74-year-old Black activist from the city of Compton, was to “Find a grassroots organization, get involved, stand up for something,”
Supporters marched at 5 p.m., carrying Black Lives Matter flags and proudly displaying their handmade posters up high.
Several college students voiced that their higher education institutions were not doing enough for Black History Month.
“Colleges are trying to secure funding; they aren’t trained to listen to students,” said a college student.
Colleges are celebrating Black History Month in different ways and public reactions vary.
“Education is still thriving and looking to better ourselves and as institutions to serve our communities,” said Fullerton’s Umoja Community Program Manager Brandi Avila in an article with Princeton Reporter Group.
Before the end of the march, Bryson announced his plans to run for office for California’s 47th Congressional District in 2022.
“It’s going to be a long year of campaigning,” he said.
The march ended at 5:30 p.m. shortly after the organizers thanked the demonstrators for their support.