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Sunday, June 7, 2020


Marching East from Hillcrest along University Avenue toward North Park, a historic neighborhood in San Diego.

Saturday morning, after a week of protests in the city and North Park, the locals slept in.  A June gloom drizzle dampened the Jacaranda blossoms falling to the ground.  The quietude was deafening. 

My relationship with North Park, the historic bungalow and small shop neighborhood, began as a child then hit a pause as I went to work as a magazine and newspaper journalist in Los Angeles and San Francisco.  In mid-life, my small family returned to North Park, where we’ve lived ever since.  In between those times, North Park has gone from a blighted neighborhood to a smart, working class part of town that enjoys its craft beer, retail shopping, diversity, architectural history and neighbors from all parts of the country and proverbial walks of life.  Life got better because North Parkers worked together to make change happen.

North Park is not on the map as a center of social protest.

Then, on Thursday, the familiar streets of North Park played host to a remarkable event.
One of the more peaceful (maybe one arrest for someone pointing a laser beam at a circling police helicopter) marches wound down University Avenue from Hillcrest then made a right turn on 30th Street before taking the Pershing Drive parkway back to the downtown police headquarters on 14th Street, where the march began.

Crowd estimates ran the gamut.  Media said 2,000.  It felt like 10,000 to this reporter.

Protesters marched briskly, held signs, chanted and participated in a respected right granted to every U.S. citizen: the right of having individual or group voices heard.

A small contingent of police cleared the way for the marchers and they were there if the march turned bad (property damage, looting).  Nothing bad happened.

You might say peace broke out as the marchers came and went.

It was a time of tranquility yet it the same time it was a time when important issues were addressed.  The citizens of this nation are tired of the lack of leadership incumbent in our institutions from the top to the street cop.

We needed this peaceful march.

Proud of how the neighborhood welcomed and cheered along with the visitors.

And, looking back at a handful of remarkable photos posted on social media by San Diegans Sam Hodgson (professional photographer) and citizen Adriana Heldiz, the images appeared to be that of a younger crowd taking responsibility for the future of their century, a time in which they were born.

It is also called growing up.  Each generation since Vietnam era has had its say via social protest (civil rights, womens lib; Gay and Transgender and once again police brutality) and voicing our collective grievances in a peaceful manner (for the most part) is the real stuff that makes America Great.  Because we can change in peace. Americans by nature are slow to hit the streets but when we do nothing can stop us.  The more things change—the more things change and this time let’s hope for the better tomorrows promised to us by our founding protestors in and around 1776.  We have it in us to make change happen.  Last Thursday was a good first step because it was made at the local level, where change takes root–By Thomas Shess, editor/founder of Pillar to Post Daily Online Magazine.
TV news capture of protesters walking down 30th Street in North Park with St. Patrick's Church in background.

Returning from North Park along Pershing Drive toward downtown Police Station were the protest march began.

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