Sharon Washington doesn’t want to stop traffic and doesn’t want to interrupt people’s day.
But the former high basketball standout said that the events of the last two weeks in America have prompted her to want to do something to bring people together in the spirit of unity and the spirit of peace.
So on Sunday evening, she and as many as 40 other people plan on silently marching from Woodward Park, across the Highway 120 overpass and down to Yosemite Avenue to culminate their peaceful march at Library Park. They are centering their position on the platform of Black Lives Matter but including all lives in the political statement and wrapping everything in a call for peace and calm.
“I’ve spend half of my life in Manteca and I felt that it would be a safer place to make a statement like this than in the Bay Area,” Washington said. “I knew that I wanted to show my support for the movement, but didn’t know how I could do that and figured that a silent protest like this would the best way to go about it.
“We’re hoping to send the message that Black Lives Matter, but also that all lives matter and we’re doing this to promote non-violence. Black lives will be at the forefront of it, but it will in promotion of all lives.”
And Washington stresses that this won’t be an anti-police demonstration.
Prior to finalizing the route, she went so far as to contact the Manteca Police Department and notify them of her intentions. She has since worked through the city to make sure that the action is lawful and doesn’t run afoul of any local ordinances or laws regarding protests or demonstrations.
She said that somebody in the city’s permitting office helped them overcome the obstacle of needing an assembly permit by walking people in groups of 9 rather than 10 – the official threshold – and taking efforts to not impede the right of way of the public along the sidewalk routes that the march will take.
While some protests organized by Black Lives Matter activists have become unruly at times – and supporters have gone so far as to shut down busy freeway sections like I-880 in Oakland – Washington said that the group will be doing nothing of the kind and will keep their protest to the sidewalk and be sure not to block it and keep people from getting around.
The march will begin at Woodward Park at 7 p.m.
“My personal motivation in doing this – being a black female with brothers and sisters – is that things have gotten out-of-hand across the board, and I’m tired of sitting back and just talking about being an advocate for non-violence,” she said. “I felt like it was time to stand up and do something about it.”
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.