On the one-month anniversary of the Orlando mass shooting, Black Lives Matter organized a rally outside of the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters, where inside the police commission ruled that two officers who killed Redel Jones, a black woman in south Los Angeles, acted in accordance with the department's deadly force policy.
Black Lives Matter Los Angeles attends police commission meetings at the LAPD headquarters downtown every week, but this week the crowd in attendance was much larger than usual, after the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile captured national media attention, along with the shooting of multiple police officers in Dallas.
Protesters chanted "Black Lives Matter Here!" and shouted the names of Los Angeles residents who were either killed by police or died in custody: Wakeisha Wilson, Redel Jones, and Keith Bursey, among others.
People in the crowd held handmade signs with phrases of support for Black Lives Matter: "Brown People for Black Power," "Armenians for Black Lives," "Latinx For Black Power," "Black Trans Lives Matter," and "LGBTQ Stands With Black Lives Matter."
Groups such as the L.A. Brown Berets, White People for Black Lives, and the Los Angeles Community Action Network were present at the event.
Jasmine Richards, the lesbian Black Lives Matter Pasadena organizer who was arrested on a "felony lynching" charge in June, was at the rally Tuesday morning. The activist, who was released from jail two weeks ago, was in the commission meeting, where police only allowed 75 people in. There were hundreds of people who showed up, but since they didn't make it inside, they rallied outside.
Richards told The Advocate that the aunt of Wakiesha Wilson, a woman who was killed by police officers, adressed Police Chief Charlie Beck during the meeting, asking him why he keeps "uplifting the cops in Dallas, who were murdered," when "we don't stand for murder at all; we are hurting for those police as well," said Richards.
"There's no regard for black life in those rooms," said Richards, pointing at the LAPD headquarters, "but we come every Tuesday, with resilience and resistance in our eyes and in our hearts and minds. Our intentions and our hearts are to lift up the names of those who have died."
Redel Jones was killed after, according to the LAPD, she moved towards an officer with a knife in her hand, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Protesters gathered outside LAPD headquarters, where several people took to the megaphone to say the names of those who have been killed by police officers, while others gave speeches, and some showed solidarity with other social movements such as those of the teachers in Oaxaca, Mexico, and the state of Palestine.
Charlie Carver, the Teen Wolf and Desperate Housewives actor, was among those gathered Tuesday. The actor said he was "inspired to take more direct action" because "it's very easy to recycle memes online and it's very easy to show support and attempt to show solidarity that way" but "it's not changing anything." The best way to show support is "to get out there," said Carver.
Jordan Phillips, 24, brought crystals with him to the rally to "ward off negative energy." Phillips was wearing a T-shirt he created after Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, Mo., that read, "Am I Next?"
"The question is always here. This question is here on my skin," said Phillips, pointing to his wrist. "This question is on this shirt, and I get to take it off, but I don't get to take this off," says Phillips, referring to his skin.
Trace Lysette, the Transparent actress, and Silas Howard, the Transparent director, were also present at the rally.
"I've been heavy-hearted since Orlando and the black murders, and injustice has just reached a boiling point, as well as the trans murders in this country, and so I cry for my sisters and brothers through color lines," said the Transparent actress.
"A lot of my chosen family is black and I say that unabashedly. For anyone who doesn’t understand that, they just don’t understand me and my generation because especially in the LGBT community, the concept of chosen family is so important and it's a survival tactic," said Lysette. "For me not to show up today is just not an option. I have to stick up for my family."
Angela Jude, 24, said she came to the rally because she feels that the country is at a tipping point and no one is being held accountable for the murders of black people. After the Orlando attack, Jude said, she "personally felt attacked as a queer person."
Then came the killings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the Dallas police officers, and Jude said she didn't know where to point her attention. "There's a problem with guns, there's problems with the police system. and even though this is Black Lives Matter, this also incorporates queer people, which is really important," she said.
Jude was one of those in attendance at a Black Lives Matter general meeting on Sunday that was involved in a direct action that stopped traffic on the 405 freeway for 10 minutes. She said she left Inglewood, a Los Angeles suburb, that evening feeling inspired by the intersectionality of those present that night. "It wasn't just black people, it was white people, it was trans people of color, it was Latinos, Asians, and all the posters that people had there."
"There was one that said, 'Brown Power for Black Power,' and that's what needs to happen, people need to realize this isn't a black issue, this is a human issue," Jude said passionately.