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Peaceful protest held in Atascadero, as community members demand change from local law enforcement

Posted at 8:13 PM, Jun 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-07 23:13:33-04

The Sunken Gardens in Atascadero was filled with people who joined together for a peaceful protest Sunday afternoon.

Unlike some of the other protests, demonstrations, and rallies across San Luis Obispo County this week, this event was planned and carried out by community members rather than a organization.

"The purpose would probably be to unite a community. There's not a lot of exposure to Afro-American environment out in this small area, so just trying to get the community to understand how we feel about certain things," said Marc Martin, protester.

Despite there not being a large black population in the city, organizers of the protest wanted to take the opportunity to address oppression and police brutality.

"I think it is really easy to dismiss black community in Atascadero and it's really easy for us to sink into the shadows or for us to be ignored and I think this is really important for our city and for our town," said M'Lynn Martin, event organizer.

As we’ve seen all week, protesters knelt for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in memory of George Floyd.

Floyd, who was black, died after a white officer knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes.

Participants at the Atascadero march came up with a unique way to send their message to law enforcement.

They wrote down the changes they want to see in the profession and put them inside a box.

"The more brains we have putting power behind a problem, the more likely we are to fix it and address it well," said M'Lynn Martin.

"You can march all you want, you can protest all you want, but if there's no end goal, then we have nothing with the march and protests. It's just people walking with signs down the street," said Marc Martin.

Marc Martin said he plans on sorting through the messages and plans on meeting with the city's chief of police.

Police were informed of the protest and were in the area to make sure everything went smoothly.