Protesters gathered in Ontario for the Black Lives Matter movement on June 4. (The Enterprise/Rachel Parsons)
ONTARIO - A crowd of hundreds gathered in Ontario’s West Park Plaza Thursday night for a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest and march, which made its way down Southwest Fourth Avenue until it reached Ontario City Hall.
The protesters held signs, largely addressing issues of equality, police brutality and the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which four officers have since been charged for.
The signs read “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” “silence is compliance,” “everybody is somebody’s child,” “I can’t breathe” and “no justice, no peace,” as well as “say their names,” accompanied by a list of notable victims of police brutality.
Before the protest began, Ontario Mayor Riley Hill spoke with the Enterprise.
“We just want to listen and see what’s said,” said Hill. “We want to be a city that unites instead of divides. The place has changed since I got here 40-some years ago and the demographics are way, way different. And there’s bigotry here and there’s racial issues here, and we hope to heal those.”
Along the march, passing motorists frequently made it a point to show their support by honking, raising their fists and, in some instances, holding signs out of their windows.
Protesters marched to Ontario City Hall, starting at West Park Plaza and making their way down Southwest Fourth Avenue. (The Enterprise/Rachel Parsons)
Charlie Gonzalez, longtime Ontario resident and protest organizer, said he was proud of the community for joining together.
“The racism is here in our backyard, and we deal with it every single day,” said Gonzalez. “I appreciate each and every one of you guys coming out, because this is beautiful. You have every single race out there in the world sitting in this crowd.”
In a statement, Ontario Police Chief Steven Romero said he was proud of the protesters for staying peaceful throughout the entire protest, and that the community remained “true to what it represents.”
“I must commend the behavior of those that engaged in the protest,” said Romero. “Despite being taunted and challenged by individuals opposing the group's view and message, the protest participants encouraged one another to remain respectful, focused on their purpose, and policed themselves as they marched in solidarity through Ontario.”
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