Ever since the Ferguson Mo. grand jury failed to  indict  Darren Wilson, the white officer  who shot and killed Michael Brown, an  unarmed black teenager, protests against law enforcement’s murdering of African American males have been sweeping the country.

Pasadena  joined the ranks this past Sunday with their own, as it was billed, “peaceful protest.”

That’s what they called it and by an invitation-only crowd  they pridefully maintained the peace.

But how come folks in the local barber and beauty shops were unaware the March, taking place on  a few well-chosen streets in downtown Pasadena, was going to take place?

The folks who live on Summit Ave. were unaware they could have been on the lawn at All Saints Episcopal Church, across from City Hall  singing “We Shall Overcome”.

But maybe they weren’t invited because the conveners of the “members-only” event knew the trouble-makers from Summit Ave., the heart of the Pasadena ‘hood, weren’t about to be duped into singing an out-dated civil rights message that no longer has Black folks believing in that elusive  “someday.”

Ah, only in Pasadena. The city of the elite.

“Deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome some day,” is an interesting position to take when marching against the forces who are sworn into duty with the pledge of protecting and serving but instead who kill and then escape prosecution.

While the march drew a good size crowd, believe it when I say, they were hand- picked!

Well,  I do live in  Pasadena the same place  where the PTA at my children’s school. back in 1965, asked me to attend a meeting. Fortunately, I was not able to be there. Unknown to me, I was on the agenda: The group wanted to know why I wore kinky hair – a natural.

The mother of Kendrec McDade, the young unarmed black teenager the Pasadena Police shot to death, was at the protest (photo attached),  but oddly enough she wasn’t chanting with the assemblage of folks who took to the steps of City Hall after their brief  parade  around the block.

Two ministers spoke, and then  sent the invitees, 2 by 2, with the youth leading the procession, on their way.

This formation can best be compared to kindergartners who line up at the classroom door to make it to the cafeteria for lunch. Only thing missing – the double file of marchers were not holding hands.

McDade’s  heartbroken mother was NOT part of the kick-off. She wasn’t introduced or acknowledged, but the Mayor of the City and the Police Chief were  both introduced  each receiving a round of applause.

It was a peaceful and orderly bunch of invitees, about 400 of them. They followed the lead of the woman with the bullhorn who led the chanting on the steps of City Hall – no I didn’t mix up my words, it was chanting, NOT shouting.

The chanters were like a church choir having come to the steps to sing, well, chant, familiar Christmas Carols.

The conveners of this very orchestrated fiasco proved their worth and showed that Pasadena CA is nobody’s Ferguson MO. Pasadena knows how to keep its natives controlled, and who better to do that than men of the cloth.

Where is Michael Zinzun when we need him most?

This blog also appears in the Pasadena Weekly.  Follow the link and please add your comment for the Weekly Reading Audience


Her son killed by Pasadena Police

Her son killed by Pasadena Police


Hands Up - Don't Shoot

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Jean Troy

    The cost of being and living in Pasadena is to cover your head in sand like an Ostrich. I remember working with Parents to help save a coach’s job at Muir and one of the attendees said to Me you must be from LA we don’t do things like this in Pasadena. So the coach lost His Job and we continued our blind folded way. Too bad that we can’t be honest.

  2. Laura Monteros

    Shirley, there are too many church folks in the downtown area that don’t even know that the poorest part of Pasadena is only a few blocks away from the expensive condos and increasingly upscale stores and restaurants. The realtors tell them not to send their kids to public school, but don’t tell them about the poverty and the crime and desperation that so often go with it. It’s easy to think Kendric was an anomaly or that things like Ferguson don’t happen in Pasadena when you don’t realize who your neighbors or, or how recently Pasadena enforced Jim Crow laws.

  3. chili barrios

    well, now I am glad I couldn’t go. What a waste of time. Guess I have the wrong idea of marching around, and having a point. Maybe we can figure something out that will protect the people from the big, bad, police.

  4. Thomas

    Organization? How many other churches were contacted? Seems like the turnout could have been multiplied ten times just be having more congregations taking part.

    To further dissipate the energy, I found that the “two by two” sidewalk march was a major diffuser. This was supposed to be a rally, not a trip to Noah’s ark. Walking down the street ten or twelve across, shoulder to shoulder, creates a group groundswell, even with only 500 folks. Ya just can’t chant much with a noodle-thin ribbon winding around the block.

    Then what about the takeaway? If you get all those people together, how about a half sheet flyer with 5 easy actions to take — phone calls to make, letters to write, city council meeting to attend, etc.? Seemed like a missed opportunity.

  5. -Nate

    Hm ;

    As a North West District 1 Resident , I am not sure this was a total waste of time but it *does* smack of tight control .

    I miss Michael Zinzun!

    Not acknowledging Ms. McDade is a slap to the entire Community .

    Pasadena’s Public Schools are mediocre at best but it’s possible for YOU the Parent , to keep your foot in your Child’s butt and ensure they get a good Education ~ I’m just a Blue Collar schmoe but my Son got a good Education here in spite of everything ~ if you’re not part of the solution , you’re THE PROBLEM .

    Don’t blame others nor ‘ the system ‘ if you’re not happy ~ get off the damn sofa and turn off fox channel , make a difference in your and your Children’s lives .


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