Del Mar mother, daughter help lead Black Lives Matter cause locally
For 13-year-old Katharine Forrest, a multiracial student in Francis Parker’s class of 2025, George Floyd’s death spurred the first nationwide protests over racism and police brutality that she can remember.
“It really weighed heavily on me because it was so insane and inhumane,” said Katherine, who lives in Del Mar with her family, referring to the viral images of a Minneapolis police officer’s knee pinning Floyd’s neck to the ground as he struggled to breathe.
Her mother, Nicole Forrest, a Black woman from Washington, D.C., grew up in neighborhoods that had been shaped by the riots following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. To her, Floyd’s death is part of “the deja vu that continues over and over again.”
With Nicole’s generational perspective and Katharine’s interest in advocating for social justice, the two are working to advance the Black Lives Matter cause locally, starting in Del Mar.
Nicole said that their group has distributed about 600 Black Lives Matter signs around their local community. They have also been contacting Del Mar store owners to see if they’re interested in distributing the signs.
Protesters across the country have also been calling attention to Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was killed by a Louisville police officer in March during a raid on her apartment, as well as Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was killed in February by two white men in Georgia while he was running along a suburban street.
“It’s really nothing new and hasn’t been new,” Nicole said. “It’s different incarnations over the last 400 years. What’s new is now the national and global attention to the issue of Black lives and the Black-lived experience.”
As a result of Floyd’s death and ensuing protests, the San Diego Police Department, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and other police agencies throughout the nation have announced that they will no longer use the carotid restraint, which is a type of neck hold.
Longer term, Nicole added that she supports the goals of Campaign Zero, a national organization that conducts research on policing throughout the U.S. and proposes ways to end police brutality. She also said that there are important conversations to be had about the future of policing, including how much public money to spend on it.
“Where we’re headed is a place where violence that is racially imbalanced and against Black bodies is reduced in this country,” Nicole said.
Sophie White, a student in Francis Parker’s class of 2023, noted that she and many of her classmates are still a few years away from voting. Until then, she said it’s important for students to seek perspectives beyond the words in their history textbooks and to advocate for a curriculum that best captures the issues caused by racism in America.
“It’s a call to action for my generation to speak up and show what we want in our education system,” Sophie said.
She and the other students involved are looking to start a website, social media channels and other ways to support action against systemic racism.
Juliana Abraham, a Del Mar parent, said she and her family participated in local sit-in protests, but added that the work required for meaningful, systemic change needs to continue long after the protests end.
“I love how Nicole is looking long term, not just in the community of Del Mar, but among all of these students and teenagers,” she said. “This is a lifelong pursuit.”