OCEANSIDE — A core group of about a dozen peace activists took to the streets of downtown Oceanside on July 14 with the message: “Black lives matter, all lives matter.”
The group initially gathered on Pacific Street by the Oceanside Pier. Rally organizer Joshua Rhodes, of Oceanside, used a bullhorn to spread a message of peace.
“All lives matter, black, white, Filipino, Asian, Samoan,” Rhodes said.
Other group members shouted similar messages, some saying they are black and have experienced racism.
Janice Robertson, a 20-year-old Escondido resident, said she joined the rally because too many people have been fatally shot by police.
“They’re not understanding that peace is what drives our world,” Robertson said.
The group walked along Pacific Street and up Mission Avenue to the Regal Cinemas. Once there more young adults took part in the rally.
Oceanside police had a visible presence during the march, while also remaining at a respectful distance to allow the peaceful demonstration to continue. One officer on a motorcycle and two on foot kept watch at the pier, another three officers on motorcycles drove up to the Regal Cinemas with lights flashing after the group had been there for awhile.
The demonstrators displayed respect in return. Upon seeing police Rhodes directed the group to head back to the pier.
Spectators responded to the group with both thumbs up and raised eyebrows.
For the most part the rally allowed participants to peacefully express their frustrations and share their thoughts.
Following the rally Police Chief Frank McCoy said it was a “good event.”
“We want people to express their opinions,” McCoy said. “They were able to get their message across and not cause problems.”
Earlier in the day MainStreet Oceanside sent an email to downtown businesses alerting them a peace rally was planned for that evening during the hours of the weekly Sunset Market, which is held across the street from the Regal Cinemas.
In the email Gumaro Escarcega, MainStreet Oceanside program manager, urged businesses to remain alert and cordial.
“We have been informed that the Oceanside Police Department will have a strong presence in downtown Oceanside, but please maintain a peaceful attitude throughout the rally,” Escarcega said.
McCoy confirmed there were no skirmishes or arrests.