Pomona, CA — On Saturday, July 25 several hundred cars gathered at Village Academy High School located at 1444 East Holt Avenue in Pomona and prepared to drive slowly in a motorcade in support of Black Lives Matter.
The Victory Community Church in Upland led the nearly 220 car motorcades through the cities of Pomona, Claremont, and La Verne. Senior Pastor of VCC Tommy and First Lady Kimberly led motorists in a Lincoln Town Car Limousine provided by McKay’s Family Mortuary and driven by owner and operator Mark McKay. At McKay’s Mortuaries, they are dedicated to the value of compassionate funeral service and believe their first responsibility is to the families we serve. They offer unique opportunities for families to create healing moments after loss. Their experience, coupled with our perspective on the importance of ceremony, will help families discover ways to celebrate life. Whether traditional or unique, these tributes allow families to love, laugh, and live well again.
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Among VCC participants included curators of the African American Museum of New Beginnings Khalif and Victoria Rashaun along with faith groups and community organizations, along with state senators, assembly members and local civic leaders. Cars left the lot in four groups, historically Black churches and organizations, state and local civic leaders, all faith groups, and community organizations.
The Rashaun’s believe, “The black lives matter motorcade protesting the real time lunching of George Floyd demonstrated an almost overnight transformation of the psyche of millions of white Americans. This motorcade reflected unprecedented diversity and solidarity towards the realization of equal protection under the constitution.” “We know it is our time!”
This witness for Black Lives Matter followed a 16-mile route through Pomona, Claremont, and La Verne, covering main streets in each city, and passing by the Pomona Police Department, the courthouse building, and City Hall.
The motorcade was organized by Karen Vance, a longtime elementary teacher (recently retired) in Pomona and member of the Claremont Friends Meeting (Quakers). Karen explains that she “felt led as a Member of Claremont Quaker Meeting, to create an inter-faith motorcade witnessing to our support of Black Lives Matter. I sought a Covid safe way for our community to stand as one.
“Claremont Quakers supported my leading for a motorcade, and plans began.
Dr. Daphne Burleson spoke with reporters and when asked how she felt about the movement, she replied, “I’ll preface my thoughts by saying that I do not totally agree with the foundational and all of the initial core values of BLM. Its infrastructure is controversial; however, the organization is building and maturing daily. It is finding its place of effectiveness. In our culturally pluralistic society, I believe racial hatred and ignorance had not been challenged in an exceptionally long period of time, because everyone strives to be politically correct. “It is controversial to take a stand of agreement with a cause.” Burleson continued by saying, “Considering the increase of racial violence and open displays of hatred against African American, it forces the spotlight on a targeted group of people African Americans!!! I do not believe any sane person gets pleasure out of having their productive lives interrupted by racial ignorance and violence. The goal is not to draw unnecessary attention to people, but to address systematic ignorance and racism!”
The BLM Motorcade held on this past Saturday simply made a statement of organized unity against the negative and violent acts of racism. People of all nationalities and backgrounds joined in a day of focused and peaceful purpose. You could see it on the faces of all who participated. It was obvious that everyone there desired to be a part of change! I was blessed to be a participant in the movement. The Black Lives Matter Movement is building something that will undergird change. I support the positive changes that our forefathers and God would be proud of!
Participants from all over the Inland Valley lined the streets with cheers and applause in support of Black Lives Matter. One participant Maggie Green said, “This peaceful motorcade was great and well organized. We were well received by people who stood out and others who were driving along our path. There were honks and waves from all different ethnicities.” She continued saying, “Because I was in the first 7 cars, I was unable to count how many motorists participated, however what I can say, is that the young teenage girls that rode with me asked a lot of questions and I was able to provide insight on the systemic racial divide that Black folk have dealt with for over 400 years.”
Green ended with her comments with, “Hopefully change will occur in the neighboring cities and we hope different people recognize that protesting is not a militant movement. Politicians, churches and community members are not militant people by nature, we all have one mind and one goal, that is to provide equality for Black people.”
State and civic officials, and community organizations joined the motorcade as well. The local
NAACP, National Council of Negro Women were in attendance. We have people joining us from as far as Fontana and Pasadena. I did not, could not, have expected this outpouring of love, said organizer Karen Vance.”
Tina Moore a long-time resident of the city of Pomona said, “This was my first time ever being in a motorcade march. It was heartwarming and exciting to see all the participants come together, whites and Hispanics, Asian Americans. Black Lives Matter motorcade’s purpose was to let people realize that Black Lives really do matter. She went on to say, “Especially here lately the police don’t really think we matter. It appears they want us to take a backseat to everything, and we should be ok.” “Here it is the year 2020 and we still getting the shorthand of the stick.” She continued saying, “Young people are not putting up with all the atrocities our generation and the generations before did.” “I wish a lot more of Black people participated.”
I think the late Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King said it best, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” This motorcade marks a day where we can finally recognize this time of his dream is becoming our reality.