UAPB Hosts Protest in Solidarity with National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression


Ivana Martinez

Protestors at Pioneer park listening to speakers talk at the protest against police brutality on June 13, 2020. (Photo by Ivana Martinez | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Natalie Colby and Ivana Martinez


The National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression called for June 13 to be a day of action to stop police crimes, and Utah against Police Brutality answered that call. Other organizations were also present, including Freedom Roads Socialist Organization and Insurgence TV.

Crowds gathered at Pioneer Park as they sat on the grass waiting for speakers to begin. For the second week in a row, demonstrators showed up to protest the systemic racism in this country — which includes the over-policing and killing of Black and Brown people.

The crowd was smaller than previous days, reaching about 400 people, but the sentiment of justice for victims who were killed by police and the call for defunding police remained the same.

Across the streets, Caputo’s Market was providing snacks and water for protestors showing their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. CEO Matt Caputo was present and spoke out about why they were choosing to support the cause.

“I don’t have any answers for systemic racism. I’m just a deli guy,” said Caputo. “But I did know we couldn’t stay silent, and then after a while I knew that just posting stuff on social media — it wasn’t enough.”

He expressed the support of the local Utah food community from suppliers small artisans, farmers, restaurants, and bars.

An immigrant rights activist, Victoria Sethunya from the Kingdom of Lesotho spoke about experiencing racism across international barriers.

“When I saw what happened to George Floyd, I couldn’t imagine that racism and white privilege had followed me all across the ocean. I wasn’t aware that I would be singing the same anti-apartheid song that I sang back in South Africa,” Sethunya said.

Speakers such as “Phoenix Child” Cassandra Houston sang and spoke about their experiences with police and about their sexual assault.

“On my most depressed and anxious days, I wonder if we will actually be able to change the system … but every single one of your faces and voices gives me hope,” Houston said. “We must use our living, beating hearts and voices to denounce police. There are murderers and gangsters with badges.”

After listening to several speakers, the crowd marched to the Matheson Courthouse, which houses the office of Sim Gill, the Salt Lake County District Attorney.

Protestors held a large sign detailing Gill’s response to the killings of different people by police. The responses were either non-existent or described as “execution justified.”

“Sim Gill, their blood is on your hands,” the sign read.

At the courthouse, speakers called for justice once more and not more deaths by the hands of police officers.

There, Utah against Police Brutality said it is right to rebel.

Ray Duckworth from Black Lives Matter Utah asked protestors to share and sign a petition created by Lex Scott to demand a police reform bill now. She asked protestors to vote for all of those affected by police brutality who cannot vote, such as DACA students.

Protestors then marched to a mural of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal, George Floyd, Dillon Taylor and Darrien Hunt by an anonymous artist. All have been killed by police — all local victims with the exception of Floyd.

While the protests and demands have been continuous and increasing with many protestors and organizers calling for the defunding and eventual abolition of the police, the Salt Lake City Council has other plans. The consensus for the past two weeks has been to demand a $30 million dollar decrease in the proposed $84 million 2020-2021 fiscal budget for police, but the SLC council announced their plans to increase the budget by over a million dollars.

Adrienne Romero addressed the crowd at the protest and spoke on how they were fed up with the system.

“We will no longer be silenced or intimidated by these increasingly militarized thugs, We will no longer allow those with the privilege to comfortably ignore us,” Romero said.

“They can’t quell us anymore and now they’re, they are scared because they are not outnumbered by us. … We will not back down anymore.”

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