Richmond neighbors hold ‘Black Lives Matter’ driveway rally

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Richmond neighbors hold ‘Black Lives Matter’ driveway rally
A group of East Richmond Heights neighbors took part in a “Black Lives Matter Arlington Driveway Rally" on Sunday, June 7, 2020. (Photos by Kathy Chouteau)

By Kathy Chouteau

East Richmond Heights neighbors participated in a “Black Lives Matter Arlington Driveway Rally” along Arlington Boulevard on Sunday.

The grassroots effort was organized by three sisters—Allison Prine of East Richmond Heights, Candace Shankel of El Cerrito and Erin Shankel of Oakland. In the wake of the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis, it called for residents along the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare, Arlington Blvd., to rise up in peaceful protest and in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

“We live up on the hill with a view of the City of Richmond,” said Prine. “With everything going on in the world, we have been spending some time this past week thinking about the privilege that comes from living up on the hill and the privilege that many are exercising in choosing to stay home from protests due to fear of COVID-19, fear of violence and caregiving duties for young children and vulnerable family members.”

“We came up with the idea for a call to action to our neighbors, something more than just lawn signs and performative ally-ship, where we could not only engage with our neighbors, but [also] ask them to take a more active role in supporting the Black Lives Matter movement,” she added.

The driveway rally saw numerous families along Arlington Blvd. Sunday afternoon take to their front lawns and driveways and wave signs with messages such as “Black Lives Matter,” “No Justice, No Peace,” and “Rise Up.” Along the stretch of Arlington Blvd. between Barrett Ave. and Solano Ave., approximately 15 different groups of protesters could be seen in front of their homes for the two hour duration of the rally.

All the while, cars drove by the strong display of support for the black community—many with their own signs—and honked enthusiastically in support of the effort.  One man could be seen biking his way up the boulevard with a “Black Lives Matter” sign attached to the back of his bike. Adding to the mix was an intermittent procession of people holding protest signs, walking up and down the sidewalks and into the street.

Organizers’ hope to see the impact of Sunday’s peaceful protest resonate well beyond Arlington Blvd.’s front lawns and driveways.

“This is a call to action to engage with our neighbors and communities, to hold white and non-black [people of color] accountable for taking action, to donate to black run businesses and organizations, to sign petitions, to advocate for black lives on a personal, community and federal level, to read and educate ourselves and those around us, to commit to this work knowing that the fight does not end until all black lives are treated with dignity and respect,” said Prine.

Anyone interested in following the lead of the three sisters can find a guide on their social media account regarding how people can echo this effort in their own communities. Visit Facebook.com/BLMDRIVEWAYRALLY and @BLMDRIVEWAYRALLY on Instagram.

Check out these photos of Sunday’s Black Lives Matter Arlington Driveway Rally in East Richmond Heights.