SANTEE, Calif. (KGTV) — Hundreds gathered in Santee on Saturday to call for justice for women of color.
A flyer for the march advertised "promoting black and brown unity" and justice for Breonna Taylor and Vanessa Guillén.
Breonna Taylor was an EMT who was shot and killed during a no-knock warrant against her boyfriend at her home in March. No drugs were found in her apartment.
Vanessa Guillén was a 20-year-old Army specialist who disappeared in April from Fort Hood in Texas. Remains believed to be hers were found near the Army post in July, sparking protests over the military's handling of sexual harassment allegations.
A section of Mission Gorge Rd. was blocked off by police for the planned protest. Counter-demonstrators also assembled in the area.
One of the demonstration's organizers told ABC 10News that they hope their calls for racial justice are heard by Santee's City Council leaders.
"Santee has its things, it's known as being racist, and I'm here to change that. That's the goal," said Alana, one of the organizers with East County BIPOC, who adds that she is born and raised in Santee. "We tried to work with City Council and we tried to be a part of a diversity committee, and it was kind of just brushed under the rug. Nothing ever happened."
The group is also calling for City Council to create a diversity committee led by people of color, for Santee Mayor John Minto to denounce the Defend East County Facebook group, and to meet with San Diego Sheriff's Department Captain Christina Bavencoff.
One demonstrator told ABC 10News, "our message is that minorities can be safe here. I grew up here and there is racism but there's also perks to living in Santee. The community, when they accept you, can be good. But also for minorities, to feel comfortable and to expand all of our minds and to open up about Black Lives Matter as well."
In regards to counter-protesters, the demonstrator added, "We're not here for them. They came here for us, clearly."