USC student organized peaceful protest to battle negative media portrayal of protests

Victor Rojas and Samantha Bravo

RESEDA — As protests across the country continue, a University of Southern California student organized a gathering in front of the West Valley Police Station in Reseda on Saturday morning, in hopes of challenging media portrayals of violence and looting happening during protests.

The organizer, who only gave the name Eduardo, said he has noticed individuals who are concerned about attending protests because the media has portrayed them as violent.

“The motivation was to create something here in our backyard as a way to change the communities’ perspective of what a protest looks like, that (protests) are not violent and that we can get our message across by being just here,” Eduardo said.

He said he wanted to show that the community stands with the Black Lives Matter movement.

“We want them to know that we are here, as peaceful as it is, we are making noise, we want them to hear us inside, we want them to know that the community has committed sustained engagement in these issues, and we won’t stop until there’s justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and the countless other Black lives that have been lost to police brutality,” Eduardo said.

The police station was closed and there was no police presence outside the facility. The police station had a sign that read, “Thank you West Valley for your support.”

Celeste Watson, 27, attended the protest and said it was important for demonstrations to take place outside of downtown Los Angeles.

“We’re talking about in the suburbs, we’re talking about places where you wouldn’t expect because racism and police brutality happen everywhere,” Watson said. “We need to have (protests) happen in Reseda, we need it to happen in Beverly Hills.”

Xavier Booker, 26, hoped to educate others on Black Lives Matter by attending protests and having conversations.

“My life matters, it’s time for a change. People are tired,” Booker said. “At the end of the day, whatever uniform you put on, when you take that off, the color of your skin remains the same.”