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Catherine Blakespear
Mayor Catherine Blakespear addresses a crowd during a Black Lives Matter event on June 5 in Encinitas. Photo by Caitlin Steinberg
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North County leaders show support for Black Lives Matter protests

ENCINITAS — In an effort to rally support behind citizens’ ongoing demonstrations against police brutality, North County politicians, activists and families attended Black Lives Matter protests over the past weekend at the Magic Carpet Ride sculpture and Cardiff State Beach in Encinitas.

Both protests on Friday evening and Sunday afternoon attracted hundreds of individuals. And though the separate events celebrated the same message — Black Lives Matter — each gathering brought out distinctly different groups of people.

Several regional and city leaders attended the event on Friday evening, including Congressman Mike Levin, Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath, Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear and Encinitas Councilwoman Kelli Hinze. 

Monica Grunninger
Monica Gruninger holds a sign at a Black Lives Matter protest on June 5 in Encinitas. Photo by Caitlin Steinberg

The pop-up memorial for George Floyd, who died while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department, has adorned the iconic “Cardiff Kook” statue since May 30.

“To protest is patriotic,” Levin told the crowd. “Millions of Americans who are peacefully protesting across our nation have every right to express their frustration over the unequal economic and criminal justice systems in this country.

“If our democracy is to survive, we must guarantee the right to assemble, guarantee the right to be heard and not worry about rubber bullets and tear gas when we do it.”

Rep. Mike Levin
Congressman Mike Levin addresses a crowd during a Black Lives Matter event on June 5 in Encinitas. Photo by Caitlin Steinberg

Blakespear encouraged the crowd to turn their peaceful activism into action and challenged the group to take the next step.

“We have to change the conditions that lead us to this reality,” Blakespear said. “All of us have a place in [this] and it’s up to every single one of us to act. Let’s commit today. Let’s do more. Let’s do better.”

Blakespear encouraged the members of the group to register to vote at a nearby table.

Boerner Horvath said the issue is not limited to police brutality, but also extends to inequitable healthcare, education, as well as criminal justice and prison systems.

“We have a systemic crisis,” Boerner Horvath said. “[Voters] want change and… we need to hear your voices.”

Kellie Shay Hinze
Encinitas Councilwoman Kellie Shay Hinze joined several area leaders for a Black Lives Matter event on June 5 in Encinitas. Photo by Caitlin Steinberg

Hinze, who assisted Black Lives Matter organizer Mali Woods-Drake in setting up the memorial a week prior, also addressed the crowd.

“Your presence here tonight reaffirms that we will not un-see the police brutality and systemic injustices that take black lives,” Hinze said. “We are responsible to the young people here. I am so inspired. You are not future activists. You are today’s activists and today’s leaders.”

Each speaker discussed the importance of voting in November, urging people to register and volunteer in the month before the general elections.

Monica Gruninger, who identified herself as a young Cuban American, went to Friday’s event after attending a full week of peaceful protests. Gruninger called upon both elected officials and local police stations to voice their support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Tasha Boerner Horvath
Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath addresses a crowd during a Black Lives Matter event on June 5 in Encinitas. Photo by Caitlin Steinberg

“Every call matters,” Gruninger said. “One more call could be the one that pushes them over the edge so it’s so important.  I really can’t sit still. I can’t sit at home. The only thing that makes me feel better is coming out and doing these things… showing my support and my solidarity.”

Long after the elected officials left the event for the evening, protesters continued to hold signs and cheer passing vehicles.

On Sunday, Black Lives Matter organized a paddle out at Cardiff beach, attracting a demographic that had yet to attend any peaceful protests en masse — families with small children.

Organizers provided paint and brushes for children to make signs of their own, and multiple speakers highlighted the experiences of North County families of color. The event also featured  a large group sing-a-long of “Lean on Me.”

As the smallest children played on the beach, adult participants paddled out to honor the memory of Floyd.

Surfers Black Lives Matter
Surfers paddle out at Cardiff State Beach on June 7 in Encinitas. Photo by Caitlin Steinberg

Jessica and Dante Pride, attorneys representing Leslie Furcron, a protester shot between the eyes with a nonlethal bullet by San Diego police officers, helped organize Sunday’s event.

“It’s important that kids see parents standing up so that when they go back to the playground or a soccer field and they hear another child making fun of someone for the color of their skin, the language they speak, or the religion they practice… they remember this day and that teaching moment,” Pride said.

“I’m happy our community got to hear from different voices than they would normally hear from,” Pride said. “In order to have empathy and to understand somebody else’s perspective… and break down these barriers of racism, you have to have all people at the table and all voices need to be heard.”

For more protest coverage, please check out the latest episode of The North County Beat podcast. Hosts Kelli Kyle and Ryan Woldt speak with reporter Caitlin Steinberg about the protests in Encinitas. 

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Jeremy K. June 24, 2020 at 8:22 pm

He didn’t deserve to die. Obviously some racists here. Used to be a great town.

Jeremy K. June 24, 2020 at 8:13 pm

He didn’t deserve to die. We obviously have racist Republicans here in Encinitas. Used to be a nice town.

concerned June 23, 2020 at 10:09 am

From another article comment -BLM are an extreme Marxist violent group formed to overthrow all systems of a civil society.
Why are politicians such as Congressman Mike Levin, Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath, Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear and Encinitas Councilwoman Kelli Hinze participating in these BLM protests under cover of the death of George Floyd?
The politician’s oath when sworn into office is to uphold the Constitution.

Ranchboy June 18, 2020 at 6:42 am

This Floyd clown was a criminal. High on drugs, stealing, resisting arrest and trying to pass off counterfeit money to the store worker.
Spent five years in prison for armed theft. You fools

Jeremy K. June 16, 2020 at 9:00 pm

I fully agree with “concerned”. All SDCS citations for not social distancing per county order need to be voided. The BS “Freedom Rally” held by Crista Curtis was in violation and this was also a violation. Incredible to risk further community spread when we know how lethal this is, no matter the presumed legitimacy of the reason for gathering.
Most people seemed to have masks, however, for this gathering.

Covid-19 loves these gatherings. ? ?

concerned June 13, 2020 at 10:53 am

These are the officials North County voted into office. Blakespear thinks it is worth the risk to spread the virus and keep us all under house arrest for another 4 months. Hinze helped organize the protest to put hundreds at risk of spreading the virus. What is wrong with them.

Ronette Youmans June 13, 2020 at 9:56 am

Thank you, Ms. Steinberg, for your coverage of our protest and vigil at the Cardif Kook. I would like to clarify something important, though: We are allies of Black Lives Matter SD, but we have NOT appropriated their name. In fact, we have taken on a new name: Encinitas4Equality.

voteoutthesepols June 12, 2020 at 5:40 pm

George Floyd shouldn’t have died under the police hold. But why did Blakespear and Hinze ignore what Floyd did to a pregnant woman. He broke into her house demanding money and pointed a gun at her stomach. He had no thought or caring for the mother or the unborn child. He served 5 years in jail and for Mayor Blakespear and Councilwoman Hinze his robbery act didn’t mean anything to them so they could get their names in the newspaper supporting the BLM.

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