People protest from a house along the Great Highway June 2, 2020in San Francisco, Calif. The protest was in response to the death of George Floyd, a detained and handcuffed Black man in police custody in Minneapolis. (James Wyatt / Golden Gate Xpress) (James Wyatt)
People protest from a house along the Great Highway June 2, 2020in San Francisco, Calif. The protest was in response to the death of George Floyd, a detained and handcuffed Black man in police custody in Minneapolis. (James Wyatt / Golden Gate Xpress)

James Wyatt

‘We’re making a commitment,’ says organizer of Great Highway march

June 3, 2020

Thousands of protesters gathered on the Great Highway today to march in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

“This was all just sort of like late yesterday afternoon this started coming together,” Lana Porcello said. Porcello, co-owner of Outerlands restaurant, helped organize the event and went on to say, “I think people have stopped their normal routines that allow them to be distracted and allow them to be complacent and be apathetic, and they’re in a different position to pay attention.”

Porcello worked with San Francisco district four Supervisor Gordon Mar as well as other local business owners to bring the march together, and although the turnout exceeded her expectations, she hopes that the neighborhood’s enthusiasm for the movement isn’t fleeting.

“We’re all making the commitment to not let this be something that’s a passing media moment,” Portello said. “We’re making a commitment to continue this work beyond the things that are very visible like a march.”

Richard Casper, a San Francisco native who attended the protest, says he has grown up watching Black culture disappear from his hometown.

“This neighborhood was built on the backs of the Irish and the Blacks. That’s what helped turn all this from sand dunes into this paved road that you’re standing on,” Casper said. “There was a strong black culture here, and I’ve watched that in 32 years slowly get eradicated.”

Despite his anguish for the long-standing injustices that persist upon the black community, Casper managed to express delight for the number of people marching with him.

“I couldn’t be more proud,” Casper said. “I really didn’t think that this community would come together as small and tight knitted as it is in numbers like this.”

Porcello credited the large turnout as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown, and she believes that people with nothing else to do have had no choice but to come to terms with the injustice of police brutality.

“It’s really kind of an awful testament to how we can allow ourselves to be distracted,” Porcello said. “I think that’s something to recognize as well, and to not let that go when the distractions come back.”

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