Black Lives Matter protestors marching down Broadway Avenue in Seaside in 2016.

On Saturday morning, May 29, between 9-10am, there will be a “Call for Justice“ demonstration over the death of George Floyd at the Window on the Bay in Monterey. 

Video footage of the May 25 incident in Minneapolis shows Floyd, who was black, handcuffed and lying face down on the street. A white police officer is kneeling on Floyd’s neck, eventually killing him on camera. 

With the disregard for the lives of black people once again manifesting through a video circulating on social media, millions are feeling pain and anger, and thousands across the country have responded by taking to the streets. 

In Monterey, Councilmember Tyller Williamson decided to organize a local solidarity demonstration. He has the support and help of Seaside Mayor Ian Oglesby and Council Member Jon Wizard. All three are African American elected leaders. 

“It is way past the point like we can just sit on our hands,” Williamson says. “We want to make sure it’s clear this is not acceptable here nor anywhere else.”

What’s not acceptable? “Abuse of power, police brutality, black men getting attacked for the color of their skin,” he says. 

“It’s very personal because I am one of the few African American elected officials in the entire region,” Williamson saying, adding that since his mother was in the Navy he moved around a lot as a child and did not grow up in a black community to experience mistreatment by police as others have. 

“I might be in a somewhat safer situation than those in African American communities,” he says. “It doesn’t really matter. Simply because of the color of my skin I can be looked at in a certain way. The fact is that if this happened to one of us it can happen to all of us.”

The local protest is being carried out with the coordination of local law enforcement. Specifically, Williamson says he is in close touch with that Monterey Police Chief Dave Hober.

Asaf Shalev is a staff writer at the Monterey County Weekly. He covers the environment, agriculture and K-12 education, as well as Seaside, Marina, Sand City, Big Sur and Carmel Valley.

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