Around 40 people attended a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Mountain View on Friday (Aug. 28) in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis. earlier this week.
The protesters carried signs and stood at the street corners of El Camino Real and Castro Street, drawing honks of support from cars passing by. Some chose to stay in their cars due to COVID-19 precautions, driving around the block with “Black Lives Matter” signs taped to their cars.
The protest was organized by the Mountain View Voices for Peace and Justice group, led by former mayor Lenny Siegel — who is running for city council again this year. He was joined by Sally Lieber and Pat Showalter, two other former mayors who are also seeking a return to council in November.
Siegel has organized a number of demonstrations at this street corner since 1991, including multiple protests after the killing of George Floyd a few months ago.
“I feel like I can spend the rest of my life on this corner,” Siegel said.
The turnout was not nearly as large as the protests in June, but the national reckoning over racism and repeated instances of police brutality has entered the minds of many local residents and city leaders. Beginning Monday (Aug. 31), Mountain View will host four listening sessions allowing residents to share experiences they’ve had with the city’s police department. Los Altos held a town hall on policing last month and its city council was slated to discuss potential reforms at a meeting on Tuesday, but the item was pushed to the next meeting on Sept. 8.
“If Los Altos or Mountain View adopt policies, then we’re taking a leadership stand versus being a really lazy follower,” Lieber said.
Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times in the back by a Kenosha police officer on Aug. 23, leading to nationwide protests that included the postponement of professional sporting events over the course of the week.
Frank Tavares, a Sunnyvale resident who works in Mountain View, said that it was important for him to attend to show that the Black Lives Matter movement isn’t a fad.
“There have been multiple moments where people realize, ‘Oh, we need to do this during this period of time when it’s on the news,’” Tavares said. “But it needs to be a consistent practice until we fundamentally change how policing looks in this country.”