HomeCover StoriesNot a Moment, But a Movement

Not a Moment, But a Movement

Black news from Pasadena - Community - Youth movementCollege students, Ifetayo (Ife) Sangode-Olaitan, along with Clarke McRae, organized the "Every Life Matters Peace and Solidarity Rally" at Central Park and City Hall on Thursday, August 28, 2014. I was privileged, honored and moved by this event which was supported by diverse community members and like-minded people.

I asked Ife what the experience was like for her. She stated that overall there was such an adrenalin rush because of the great energy that was generated by the participants who took the opportunity to network with each other. This was reflected by the unity drum circle, the march to City Hall, and introduction of speakers, poetry and song.

The crowd, (100+), shared a moment of silence as the names and cities of the ten unarmed Black men who were shot by police officers throughout the country, including Pasadena, was read. This listing was a way to express discontent with the criminalization of young black men. Ife said that one of the core themes of the event was coming together as a village, and looking out for each other, and empowering each other.

Creating and organizing the Pasadena rally was her first in a leadership role. She noted that after the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, there were no rallies in Pasadena. She stepped up, filled this void and felt fortunate to have Clarke's support. What resonated with her in the planning phase was trying to organize, keeping in mind the rules and laws required to make it happen. Ife shared that "it all came together." The march, for her, was beautiful emboldened by the diverse line up of speakers, the elders in the crowd, with along young people and adults and children.

Ife stated that when she mentioned her idea to Police Chief Sanchez, he understood her concerns about too much police presence. She noted that the small number of officers, if they were not in uniform, would not have been noticed. They joined in the march and conversed with many that they knew and others who approached them.

One of the many signs of respect, service, safety and solidarity was the addition of the motorcycle officers who managed traffic as we moved from Central Park, along Colorado Boulevard to Garfield Avenue, to the steps of City Hall. Ife noted that there were some people who were exiting restaurants along Colorado Boulevard who joined the march as cars honked and flashed their lights.

Ife stated that she was not on edge and felt comfortable during the rally and march. She stated that she has received an overwhelming, but welcomed amount of feedback, for example, that she did such an amazing job and how people loved her idea for the rally. Some said that they had a great time and was happy to raise their hands and voice.

Those in attendance, and those who were not able to participate, called out the need to keep going and to connect with other groups who are mentoring – black males and other college students to help them organize similar events.

For now, Ife said she is taking it slow and is focused on completing her senior year at Cal State Northridge and finalizing her options for graduate school. Clarke will graduate from a community college and will transfer to a four-year university.

Ife's message to the community, including young people is that the issues with the death of our young men are not just happening in Ferguson and New York City. She believes that one person or two people can make a difference in the lives of so many and raise their voice to help others raise their own voices. She wants to inspire other students and young people to show that Pasadena cares. Both Ife and Clarke are grateful and beaming with joy because of the support they experienced.College students, Ifetayo (Ife) Sangode-Olaitan, along with Clarke McRae, organized the "Every Life Matters Peace and Solidarity Rally" at Central Park and City Hall on Thursday, August 28, 2014. I was privileged, honored and moved by this event which was supported by diverse community members and like-minded people.

I asked Ife what the experience was like for her. She stated that overall there was such an adrenalin rush because of the great energy that was generated by the participants who took the opportunity to network with each other. This was reflected by the unity drum circle, the march to City Hall, and introduction of speakers, poetry and song.

dbennet-cmcrae-bbennett-ioliatanThe crowd, (100+), shared a moment of silence as the names and cities of the ten unarmed Black men who were shot by police officers throughout the country, including Pasadena, was read. This listing was a way to express discontent with the criminalization of young black men. Ife said that one of the core themes of the event was coming together as a village, and looking out for each other, and empowering each other.

Creating and organizing the Pasadena rally was her first in a leadership role. She noted that after the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, there were no rallies in Pasadena. She stepped up, filled this void and felt fortunate to have Clarke's support. What resonated with her in the planning phase was trying to organize, keeping in mind the rules and laws required to make it happen. Ife shared that "it all came together." The march, for her, was beautiful emboldened by the diverse line up of speakers, the elders in the crowd, with along young people and adults and children.

Ife stated that when she mentioned her idea to Police Chief Sanchez, he understood her concerns about too much police presence. She noted that the small number of officers, if they were not in uniform, would not have been noticed. They joined in the march and conversed with many that they knew and others who approached them.

One of the many signs of respect, service, safety and solidarity was the addition of the motorcycle officers who managed traffic as we moved from Central Park, along Colorado Boulevard to Garfield Avenue, to the steps of City Hall. Ife noted that there were some people who were exiting restaurants along Colorado Boulevard who joined the march as cars honked and flashed their lights.

Ife stated that she was not on edge and felt comfortable during the rally and march. She stated that she has received an overwhelming, but welcomed amount of feedback, for example, that she did such an amazing job and how people loved her idea for the rally. Some said that they had a great time and was happy to raise their hands and voice.

Those in attendance, and those who were not able to participate, called out the need to keep going and to connect with other groups who are mentoring – black males and other college students to help them organize similar events.

For now, Ife said she is taking it slow and is focused on completing her senior year at Cal State Northridge and finalizing her options for graduate school. Clarke will graduate from a community college and will transfer to a four-year university.

Ife's message to the community, including young people, is that the issues with the death of our young men are not just happening in Ferguson and New York City. She believes that one person or two people can make a difference in the lives of so many and raise their voice to help others raise their own voices. She wants to inspire other students and young people to show that Pasadena cares. Both Ife and Clarke are grateful and beaming with joy because of the support they experienced.

 

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