Taking a stand against police brutality

To show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement, several Diamond Bar High School students attended protests and utilized their social media platforms to raise awareness by posting petitions and other resources. 

On May 25, George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis by a police officer who knelt on his neck for eight minutes. The next day, citizens gathered at the site of the crime to protest against police brutality, which  sparked protests across the country for the next two weeks.

Upcoming DBHS junior Camryn Beaulieu attended protests in Los Angeles, Chino Hills and Diamond Bar. She was inspired to participate by her parents, who both had negative experiences with police officers.

“I got tired of seeing black men and women killed for just living in America,” Beaulieu said via Instagram. “I believe it is your right as a citizen to stand up for what is right, and the treatment of black people in this country hasn’t been right for a while so I think these protests are necessary.”

Beaulieu said she had a positive experience attending the protests in Diamond Bar and Chino Hills compared to the protest she attended in Los Angeles, which started out peaceful but eventually became violent. Beaulieu spoke out against the curfews that were issued in Diamond Bar, as she felt it silenced the protestors and jeopardized the safety of those who couldn’t make it home in time.

“I think that putting a curfew in place is ridiculous,” she said. “We live in a democracy and we have the right to freedom of speech and assembly.”

Beaulieu said  that she supports the issue of “defunding” the police. She also is an advocate for stricter police training and qualifications.  

“Having people’s lives on your hands shouldn’t be an easy job to get into,” she said. 

AJ Cembrano, an upcoming senior, attended the protests in both Walnut and Diamond Bar because he wanted to be involved in the movement on a more personal level.

“Of course, reposting stuff on social media is spreading awareness, but I wanted to be a part of the movement, see the people come together for the same cause,” he said via Instagram. 

Cembrano said that the Black Lives Matter movement is dedicated to bringing justice, healing and freedom to black people, but  some individuals put the movement in a bad light by looting stores and  inciting violence. He said  he believes they were taking advantage of the situation. 

“In my opinion, I believe peaceful protests are so beneficial,” Cembrano said. “Protests don’t have to be violent at all, it’s the people that come and incite the violence in protests, and in a way, ruin it, especially if it is advertised as a peaceful protest.”

Junior Riley Shibley used his social media to showcase the positive aspects of the movement. He said that while activists are frustrated, it’s best to protest in ways that don’t involve violence or looting. 

“I get that I’ll never know what it’s like being black, but looting will never be the answer to solve the situation,” Shibley said via Instagram. 

Unlike his peers, Shibley valued the Diamond Bar curfew, as he felt that it kept protests peaceful and lawful. 

“I think [the curfew] was a great idea because it lessens the looting at night,” Shibley said.

In addition to using her social media to post information about how to demand justice for George Floyd, senior Iris Gonzales is also using her Instagram account to bring awareness to the murder of Shukri Abi, a hijabi who faced racism from her classmates, and Emerald Black, an African American woman who suffered a miscarriage due to police brutality.  

Gonzales said the protests are making a positive impact across the country, but she feels that there’s more work to be done to bring the police officers involved in Floyd’s and Breonna Taylor’s deaths to justice. In Taylor’s case, police officers broke into her home under the false assumption she was involved in a drug deal, and shot her. They have not faced legal charges. 

“I think the police officers that were involved in all those deaths should be charged with first degree murder like anyone else in their situation would have been,” she said. 

Gonzales said she harbors sympathy for the small businesses being destroyed, but doesn’t feel bad for the big corporations being looted since they have the funds to mend whatever damage they sustain. 

“I do think [looting] isn’t helpful in the portrayal of the movement, but it’s been proven that a lot of the looting is not done by protestors but by the people taking advantage of the situation,” she said. “It makes me angry that the looting is the main focus instead of the movement when the looting is a very distant by-product of the movement.”