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Dublin High School Alum Lead Peaceful Protest for Social Justice and #BlackLivesMatter

June 3, 2020

DUBLIN, CA–“I can’t breathe.” These were among the last words uttered by George Floyd as he lay handcuffed and prone at the intersection of 38th and Chicago in south Minneapolis. On Monday, some 2,045 miles to the west, the same words were chanted in the streets of Dublin, CA. The event was the peaceful march dubbed “TriValley #showup”. Student-led community organizers wanted to create a safe, yet impactful forum to express their desire for societal and institutional change.

The event started at 2PM Monday afternoon at Emerald Glen Park in the southwestern portion of picnic area. The speakers stood atop a mound at the park and were all visible to the growing crowd. There were both prepared statements and spontaneous comments that all encouraged the need for greater understanding and a call for reform.

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At the 3:00 PM, over 600 mask-protected protestors made the trek from Emerald Glen Park to the intersection of Dublin Blvd. and Dougherty Road. The journey included chants including “Say his name – George Floyd.” Many of the marchers were carrying handmade signs that further amplified their emotions. Both the City of Dublin and Dublin Police Services supported the event (the result of a two day scramble behind the scenes over the weekend). Vehicular traffic was stopped in all directions of the intersection. A vocal leader directed all in the crowd to take a knee in memory of George Floyd and to honor him with eight minutes of silence. It was a solemn moment that seemed to last forever. Subsequently, the crowd peacefully disbursed and traffic flow was restored.

We had the opportunity to speak with an individual actively involved in promoting the protest. We met Faith Rynda two years ago as a graduating senior at Dublin High School. The Video Production program was completing its fourth year under the guidance of Michael D’Ambrosio. While the annual film festival is never considered a competition, one piece is appropriately honored to be the screened last to close the festival. In that year, the film “Educate” received that recognition. It was a collaboration of Writer / Director Faith and Cinematographer Chris Thach. The film exquisitely illustrates the lives of two fairly ordinary people conducting their lives in the way that most do. However, the two fatefully meet as the result of a vehicle pull over. The driver is an African American male student and the police officer is a white female. In a matter of moments, both lives could be changed forever.

Ms. Rynda is now a student at Boston University and she stood proudly on the mound at Emerald Glen Park as one of several organizers. We sought out her reflections on the events of the day and what the future might hold for race relations.

OneDublin.org: As a graduate of Dublin High School and resident of Dublin, what did you anticipate and hope for as this march in honor of George Floyd began to take shape in your hometown?

Faith2Faith Rynda: “I hoped that this protest would be recognized as only the first step in a long process towards change. I hoped it would serve as a promise that we are listening, we are paying attention and we are committed to doing the difficult and often uncomfortable work to become better citizens. I anticipated that those who truly wanted more for our country and community would show up and they did, in masses.”

OneDublin.org: While a little unfair, I will ask you to speak on behalf of your generation. You are a woman of color. How optimistic are you that American society will gain the courage and insight to make harmonious race relations a reality? Explain.

Rynda: “I’m not sure if harmony is what we should be aiming for, as I don’t think that is what anyone is asking for. “Harmony” is too often mistaken for silence and complacency; I even think some would argue that just a few weeks ago, we were living in some kind of “harmony”, even though the same inequities existed and the same injustices were taking place. What we all want and what we should be asking for is equity, access and accountability. The lack of those three things is what has led to the most recent confrontation with our country’s racist realities. I wish I could say that we were just asking for harmony and kindness but we aren’t. We are asking that human rights be made rights for everyone in this country, especially black people.

“Still, I can see what you are getting at and I believe that you were suggesting an end. I think that there will be a day in this country that we finally rid ourselves of this disease but I don’t have a prediction for when that day will be. I think my generation should focus less on the end and more on the work we can do now. Change is not about seeing results, it is about faith. Change is slow and it is likely that in our lifetime we will not see the fruits of our labor, but we do the hard work because we believe in it, we believe in better and we have faith that change will come. Hopefully we will see it in our lifetime but, if not, we will celebrate in spirit as we watch a future generation enjoy the life we should have all been granted from the start.”

OneDublin.org: In its aftermath, try to articulate what the events of this afternoon could mean to this specific community.

Rynda: “For Dublin, I think that these events mean that it is time for us to look within ourselves and ask “in what ways are we contributing?”. I love my city and I’ve been here most of my life, but we all have work to do in addressing our biases, the ways we contribute to larger injustices, and our culture of silence and complacency. Yet, as we saw at the protest, we have at least 600 people willing to do more and for that, I know our community is ready to begin that process.”

OneDublin.org would like to acknowledge the greater Dublin community for supporting a meaningful and peaceful protest. OneDublin.org would also like to acknowledge Faith Rynda for her thoughts and continued efforts on behalf of equity, access and accountability. Say his name – George Floyd. #blacklivesmatter

You can watch Faith’s film here:

2 Comments
  1. Joe Washington permalink
    June 3, 2020 5:39 pm

    Beautifully done Michael!  It’s the first time I’ve seen the video presentation as well.  Simply spectacular. You’re a good man who never seems to stop doing good things.  Thank you! Get Busy Living!

    • Michael Utsumi permalink
      June 3, 2020 11:35 pm

      Cannot tell you how meaningful your words mean to me, Joe. We’re surrounded by so many talented and beautiful people. It is simply privilege to provide a platform to share their stories. “Educate” is prescient and so relevant in 2020. Please share with your circles to stimulate further discussions!

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