2 North County events draw hundreds to honor Black lives

Hands of Peace alumni help organize peaceful protest

By PHIL DIEHLALEX RIGGINS JUNE 9, 2020
San Diego Union-Tribune  

Between 300 and 400 high school students met at Moonlight Beach on Tuesday afternoon and marched around the block to Coast Highway and Encinitas Boulevard in a peaceful demonstration for Black Lives Matter.

Later Tuesday evening another gathering was held in Rancho Peñasquitos.

Many of the participants were from Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad, a private school that takes students from across the county, said one of the organizers of the event, Martha Contreras, a Carmel Valley resident who will be a senior in the fall.

“We wanted to bring it to North County,” she said.

She and her friend, Camille Chang, of Carlsbad, another soon-to-be senior, said they support the growing movement to cut funding for police departments and use the money for other purposes such as social services as a way to reduce crime.

“It’s all about creating a new system in which people are not oppressed and discriminated against,” Chang said. “We have to make an effort to change and rebuild.”

The group spent about an hour at the Coast Highway intersection, chanting “Say his name – George Floyd,” “No justice, no peace, no racist police,” and more.

Passing drivers honked their horns and raised their fists out open car windows in support. One sheriff’s deputy stopped and briefly chatted with participants.

Ken Schulenburg, owner of Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream, stepped outside his shop overlooking the corner to watch for a few minutes. “This is a good thing to see, young people getting involved. This generation is ready for a change.”

He said there have been three or four Black Lives Matter demonstrations at nearby Moonlight Beach in recent weeks, and they were all “peaceful and positive.”

Near the Rancho Peñasquitos Towne Center Tuesday evening, a few hundred demonstrators gathered for a candlelight vigil.

While the main group met on the grass on the northeast corner near the shopping center, several smaller groups stood at the other three corners of the busy intersection waving signs with messages such as “Black Lives Matter” and “Equality for All.”

Many drivers honked as they passed the group.

A large portion of those who gathered held flowers, and on two corners the curbs were lined with candles, while on the sidewalk demonstrators had written messages in chalk such as “Remember Their Names” and “No Justice, No Peace.”

The rally in Rancho Penasquitos Tuesday evening.