El Camino Real Charter High School teacher Yasmine Pomeroy recently installed a security system in her home.
It wasn’t because Pomeroy was victimized by a burglary or had other issues in her neighborhood. She did it after one of her fellow teachers received threats and fled her own home with her daughter for wearing a T-shirt with the phrase “I Can’t Breathe,” a known reference to the police killing of George Floyd and a chant recited during Black Lives Matter protests.
“I’m very close with her. I don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Pomeroy on Sunday, Aug. 30, during a “CommUNITY Day” organized by the grassroots organization West Valley People’s Alliance, and held at the Hindu Temple and Indian Cultural Center along Devonshire Street in Chatsworth.
Organizers said the event was held to counteract a “combination of fear, poverty, anger, hate and ignorance,” that activist Ankur Patel blames for vandalism at the temple, a nearby nail salon, as well as a Japanese and Mexican restaurant.
Patel sees a connection between the vandalism and the threats aimed at the teacher at the Woodland Hills charter school.
On the first day of school, a parent took a screenshot of her while she was teaching about racial justice during an English class. The image quickly went viral on social media, generating hundreds of messages of support and hate, even threats.
According to the school’s distance learning policies, students and their families “are not permitted to photograph, video or audio record, or screenshot any distance learning without expressed written permission.”
The school condemned the incident and expressed support for the teacher, calling for unity.
“In this time of racial injustice in our nation, this must be a year of rebuilding our bridges and deepening our empathy for one another. We must work together to heal,” school officials stated in a press release.
Pomeroy, who wore a “Black Lives Matter” t-shirt during last Sunday’s event, said she’s “disheartened by what’s happened in our community.”
She’s also resolved to continue teaching her students about social justice.
“Our education will not be intimidated,” she said. “We can’t just say that we stand with Black Lives Matter, we must continue to show it because it’s not a political issue, it’s a human rights issue.”
Dr. Nichet James-Gray, one of four Black women running for four open seats on the Los Angeles Community College District Board, called the incident “horrible,” and blamed it on a “President who is anti-everything.”
“We are trying to navigate all of this negativity and racism, that has a lot to do with it,” James-Gray said.
Rally in the Valley
On the other side of the Valley the same day, there was an opposing event coined “Rally in the Valley” with hundreds of people defending and championing President Trump. Dozens of vehicles, including some military vehicles and a school bus with an enormous “Open Our Schools” sign, gathered next to Taft High School. People decorated their cars with US flags and messages supporting Trump.
They drove along Ventura Boulevard towards Studio City.
Keith Greene, a Black man was among the Trump supporters who considers the Black Lives Matter movement a “terrorist organization.”
“They have aligned with the leftist media and anarchists and they are unwilling to align with what’s right for the country,” said Greene, who wore the iconic red “Make America Great Again” hat.
“They support separation and hate and that’s what you see in Portland and Minnesota where they’re causing all the destruction,” he added. “Donald Trump is uniting the people.”
Another event participant was Venezuelan-born Yolanda Gonzalez and her family. She said they support Trump because “we don’t want socialism, communism to reach the United States.”
Her daughter, Yolie, argues that Democrats have failed California.
“In other states you don’t see what happens here, with the marijuana legalization, so much crime, homelessness,” Yolie said, noting that the problem people have with Trump is “he’s very honest and says how he feels,” but “he’s a great President.”
Megan Paradise, clad in a US flag and holding a “Trump/Pence 2020” sign, concurred.
“I want my rights back,” she said. “(The Democrats) keep trampling on our rights, our justice, our schools.”
Paradise said, “Trump woke me up,” and doesn’t understand why people who complain about corrupt politicians criticize the President who “is for the people” and is fighting against that corruption.
Garm Beall, who was one of a handful of anti-Trump protesters at the rally, denounced the gathering from across the street.
“That over there is based on ignorance, fear and lies and we don’t want it,” he said.