More than 500 people gathered at Long Beach City College Friday afternoon, June 5, in yet another demonstration in a week of demonstrations against police brutality.

Similar protests have unfolded across the city, region and nation over the past two weeks after George Floyd, a black man in Minnesota, died on Memorial Day when a white police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes.

Organizer Rylan G., a Long Beach resident and college student, said that the protests are a result of people hitting a breaking point after the death of Floyd, stating that people are tired of seeing black people as the victims of excessive violence by police.

“It’s just been so long and so much," he said. "I’ve been black since I was born. Everyone is just now starting pay attention, and it took the death of George Floyd to do that."

Another organizer, 19-year-old Long Beach resident Aazalet Danage, expressed similar concerns.

“I’ve been seeing this happen so long, too long. I have family that has been victims of police brutality, and it’s time for change. It’s just time for a change,” she said. “We are tired of waiting for things to change, and now we have to take change into our own hands.”

The Long Beach City College protest unfolded peacefully as folks chanted while marching along Clark Avenue and stopped at the intersection of Lakewood Boulevard and Hardwick Avenue, where the group paused to take a knee.

The protest also took place on what would have been the 27th birthday of Breonna Taylor, who was killed in her Kentucky home in March by plainclothes police officers. Demonstrators on Friday sang her happy birthday, surrounded by L.A. County police officers and the National Guard.

“Say her name, Breonna Taylor!” they chanted.

Kaitlyn Quash, a Lakewood resident, said she decided to participate in Friday’s march because she felt it was important to use her voice to speak out against injustice.

“It’s time for everyone to step up and make their voices heard,” she said, “because I feel like we’ve been letting things slide with how things have been going.

“It’s time to stand up and say black lives matter,” she added, “and it should matter to to everyone.”

Stephanie Stutzman can be reached at sstutzman@gazettes.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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