De Anza College students show support for Black Lives Matter movement, attend local protests3 min read

Black+Lives+Matter%0Aby+Alexandra_Koch%0Afrom+pixabay.com

Black Lives Matter by Alexandra_Koch from pixabay.com

Despite the risk of contracting COVID-19, De Anza College students have masked up to join marches, protests and rallies in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Maya Burns, vice president of DASB Senate, said she has been attending protests with her parents ever since she was a little kid, and attending Black Lives Matter protests was no different.

“My mom is Mexican and my dad is Black, and they’ve both been really active in fighting for those communities,” Burns said.

Burns attended two protests, one in San Jose and another in Walnut Creek. She said the peaceful protest in San Jose was met with violence from police.

“It was a very empowering experience because we stood in the intersection so cars had to slow down to go around us, and we really caught their attention,” Burns said. “When it started getting darker, that’s when things started getting more scary, so I left because they were throwing tear gas at us, shooting rubber bullets, air cannons and fireworks as well.”

Burns described the protest in Walnut Creek as a more organized community led event, rather than individuals attending with their own agendas.

“They were bringing awareness to the police brutality in their own community, (honoring) Miles Hall, a local student who was shot by the Walnut Creek police last year,” Burns said.

Lawrence Su, De Anza student, had taken note of the violence of systemic racism in his community and the violence the police have responded with against protests, and decided to take action.

“I went to let the people know, let the police know and let public officials know that you cannot do this against free speech and against peaceful protesters,” Su said.

Burns said that she feels that she cannot be safe as a Black woman, even in her own home, regardless of the risk of contracting COVID-19 outside of her home.

“For myself, as a Black woman, it’s dangerous to just be at home too, [for example] Breonna Taylor who was shot in her home while sleeping,” Burns said, “So just being alive is dangerous for me, I see going to a protest as fighting for my safety and for my future kids safety.”

Allen Guevarra, De Anza student and member of Anakbayan DeAnza (a Filipino youth activist organization), attended the NAACP led “die-in” at San Jose City Hall.

In hearing about the previous protests, Guevarra was prepared for rubber bullets and tear gas, so the experience he had at the die-in was surprisingly calm.

“Coming in I was prepared for that kind of cruelty and so I was surprised they [the police] hadn’t shown up until very late at night,” Guevarra said.

As a member of Anakbayan, Guevarra had experience doing community work, and supporting social justice causes both domestically and in the Philippines.

“If we could share the support that’s happening not only with what’s happening in the U.S. but what’s also happening in the Philippines [and in other parts of the world], it would be amazing because injustice somewhere is injustice everywhere,” Guevarra said.

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