On June 5th, 2020, members of BHC organized a march in honor of Ahmaud Arbery, the 25-year-old African American man who was fatally shot in Georgia during a neighborhood jog. The student led demonstration was organized to stand in solidarity with BLM protests across the nation, as well as bring awareness to systemic inequity experienced by Black and Brown communities.
Organized in just three days, the "I.E. March for Justice" drew about 600 attendees — possibly many more because paper wristbands to track attendance ran out. Student organizers obtained a city permit for the two-mile march, raised funds, bought medical supplies, created care packages that included water and snacks, promoted the demonstration, printed maps of the protest route and much more. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers also reminded attendees to wear face coverings and remain at least six feet from each other.
The protest received widespread community support. Through their outreach efforts, the organizers raised more than $1,500 to help with event expenses. An area traffic company also donated thousands of dollars worth of cones, stop signs, vests and other traffic control equipment for the protest.
The support didn’t stop there. Members of numerous Black-led organizations, including Black Student Unions from high schools and universities, labor unions, religious groups and more, joined the march. The Upland mayor and other city officials also expressed deep appreciation for the students’ efforts. In fact, lead student organizers met the Upland chief of police during the protest, who expressed support for the demonstration.
Photos by Donnie Gillet