Hundreds march in Pasadena to decry police killings of unarmed black people across the country
Anya Slaughter, the mother of Kendrec McDade, who was slain two years ago by Pasadena police, stood between Chief of Police Phillip Sanchez and Vice Mayor Jacque Robinson facing a crowd singing “We Shall Overcome” moments before a Black Solidarity Sunday march began at All Saints Episcopal Church on Sunday afternoon.
Over 350 gathered in the quad at All Saints in the shadow of City Hall to pray and sing before marching peacefully through central Pasadena chanting â€œBlack Lives Matter!â€ and â€œHands Up, Don’t Shoot.â€
â€œWe come this afternoon to declare that we want justice,â€ Rev. Larry Campbell of First AME Pasadena told the gathering. â€œWe will not allow our people to be abused and disrespected.â€
â€œRacism has American justice in a stranglehold,â€ All Saints’ Rector Ed Bacon said. â€œWe can work together, my brothers and sisters, to reverse and dismantle what is killing us and it can start right here in Pasadena with this beautiful, nonviolent march.â€
Led by young people carrying large cardboard signs which spelled out â€œHands Up!â€ and â€œDon’t Shoot,â€ the chanting marchers walked a route along Walnut Steet, down Los Robles Avenue, along Colorado Boulevard, up Marengo Avenue and past the Police Department headquarters building on Garfield.
Police officers escorted the marchers on foot and in cars.
Chief of Police Sanchez, as he walked alongside the march, said the event was well-organized and that â€œall the nation has to do is turn its eyes to Pasadena if it wants examples of appropriate social discourse.â€
â€œWe might not all agree on how we get there, but at the end of the day we all want the same things â€“ that we preserve life and respect life, and respect police officers, and that police officers and local government respect the people that they work for,â€ Sanchez said.
The march ended on the steps of Pasadena City Hall with a series of speakers, including Anya Slaughter, addressing the protestors. Her unarmed son was shot to death by police on a dark street in Pasadena.
â€œJustice,â€ said Slaughter, â€œwas not served in Pasadena that night.â€
The demonstration was hosted by two local churches, First AME Pasadena and All Saints Episcopal.
“This demonstration is the beginning of a larger effort to make systemic and structural change to end retributive punishment, draconian policies and a prison industrial complex that disproportionately affects poor black and brown communities,” a press release provided by organizers before the event said.