Story and Photos by Ashley Nash
George Floyd’s life has been memorialized across oceans, states, countries and the Westside. At noon on Sunday, June 7, hundreds gathered outside First Baptist Church of Venice to grieve the loss of Floyd and all others whose lives have been impacted by police brutality.
Community organization 4 Corners 4 Justice organized the memorial via social media and encouraged attendees to bring flowers, candles and wear masks while social distancing.
After an opening prayer, Venice High School history teacher and 4C4J supporter Soni Lloyd spoke about the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland and countless others. While reminding the crowd that Black history, in America, has been a long and painful one, he also encouraged allies to do their part.
“This gathering is just to get people to join the fight, joining the struggle against imperialism and racism,” said Lloyd.
Venice High School alum Shaya then sang the Black National Anthem to commemorate the sacrifices of Black ancestors, forefathers and foremothers. “Lift ev’ry voice and sing ‘til earth and heaven ring…ring with the harmonies of Liberty. Let our rejoicing rise, high as the list’ning skies. Let it resound, loud as the rolling sea…,” she sang.
Following an 8 minute and 46 second moment of silence, the length of time that police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck, members of the Swordfish & Chumash Tribes paid their respects to the beloved father and friend.
“We don’t perform, we pray. Our songs are what heal us, so sing them,” said the group’s leader.
Their prayer lit a timely match under the memorial attendees before members of 4 Corners 4 Justice led them in a march around Centennial Park. An overflow of supporters stood and rallied in the neighboring recreational area and joined demonstrators in chanting “Black Lives Matter,” “Say Her Name,” and “Say His Name.” A sea of people reflecting all backgrounds and ages marched twice around the park before returning to the steps of First Baptist Church of Venice for spoken word and closing remarks.
“Let’s not allow history to repeat itself. Let’s not leave here and do nothing. We must take action,” said Lloyd.
Ashley Nash is a journalist, writer, photographer and freelance makeup artist from Los Angeles. Since graduating with her master’s in journalism from the USC Annenberg School of Communication & Journalism, her writing and photography have been featured by Teen Vogue, Wear Your Voice Magazine, AFROPUNK, Blavity and Access Online. Her work continues to explore the relationships between art, culture and social justice. Follow her work on Instagram @phloxmag.