Carmel Valley for Equal Justice continues to hold weekly protests

Carmel Valley for Equal Justice holds weekly protests.

To further the local calls for racial justice, a new grassroots group called Carmel Valley for Equal Justice has been protesting every Saturday morning from 10 a.m.-noon at the corner of Del Mar Heights Road and El Camino Real.

“We’re going to keep this up,” said Nick Gekakis, who cofounded the group with his wife, Liz. “I think we need to keep up the awareness, we need to continuously remind people that we have this problem and that we need to take action against it.”

Gekakis said his wife wanted to launch a sustained effort to address the societal inequalities underscored earlier this year in Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed in police custody after an officer kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes.

He added that the news of Rayshard Brooks, who was shot and killed by an Atlanta police officer in mid June, gave him an increased sense of urgency to hold local protests. Brooks was allegedly intoxicated when he fell asleep in his car in a Wendy’s drive-through, holding up the line. He was shot after a brief altercation with police. The officer who shot him faces felony murder charges.

“I was really worked up at that point,” Gekakis said, adding that he felt angry and frustrated.

Their protests in support of Black Lives Matter have attracted about 10 people each week, with one recent gathering drawing about 30. Attendees hold signs reading “seek justice, correct oppression,” “no justice, no peace,” and “choose kindness.”

The group promotes itself on social media and through an email list.

“We’re out there and we try to be visible every week,” said Gekakis, a professor in the San Diego Community College District. “We have our signs telling people that we’re out there every week and they can come and join us. That’s a big thing. We try to be out there and be visible.”

He added that local police have been “friendly and supportive” toward group members.

The group is also working to support the passage of a city of San Diego ballot measure that would create an independent commission on police practices. San Diego City Council members unanimously voted in June to put the measure before voters.

“We’re going to be busy at least up until the election,” Gekakis said.

Face masks are required to participate in Carmel Valley for Equal Justice protests, and social distancing is enforced. For more information, visit @CVEqualJustice on Twitter.