Carmel Valley for Equal Justice marks two years with June 11 rally

Rally Carmel Valley
Participants at a racial justice rally held by the Carmel Valley for Equal Justice group at the corner of Del Mar Heights and El Camino Real Road in Carmel Valley on May 22, 2021.
(Ariana Drehsler/For The San Diego Union-Tribune)

A grassroots group called Carmel Valley for Equal Justice will hold a regularly scheduled rally at the corner of Del Mar Heights Road and El Camino Real on June 11, marking two years since members starting meeting in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder.

“It’s important to look back on the past couple of years and ask what’s happened,” said Nick Gekakis, who co-founded the group with his wife, Liz. “I think one big thing that’s happened is Derek Chauvin got convicted. I think that represents big change. It’s just one case, it’s not clear what kind of ripples that will have, but that’s a big deal.”

Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, was sentenced to 22 and a half years after he was caught on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes.

Gekakis said in a previous interview that the group’s formation was also spurred by a fatal police shooting in Atlanta about a month after Floyd. Rayshard 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. More than two years later, charges are still pending against the officer who shot Brooks.

Carmel Valley for Equal Justice was one of several local groups that formed in the weeks that followed Floyd’s death in May 2020, demanding that justice needs to be fair and equal, across all ethnicities and skin colors, police reform and other social justice causes. About seven group members held rallies every week at first, and have continued holding them every other week on the second and fourth Saturday of each month.

Gekakis also mentioned the November 2020 passage of Measure B, a city of San Diego ballot measure that established an investigatory police commission to improve oversight of the department. Implementation of the measure has been a work in progress.

“We want to keep going to do what we can to support efforts like that,” Gekakis said. “I just want us to keep going and continue to see some reforms.”

The two-year anniversary rally will be held June 11, 10 a.m.-noon, on the corner of Del Mar Heights Road and El Camino Real in Carmel Valley.