Mikia Foster When she arrived at the corner of Sichmore and Cochran on Saturday 6 June, she was not quite ready to wait.
It was only eight days since the 18-year-old recent high school graduate first thought of organizing a Black Lives Matter protest in her hometown of Simi Valley, California, a suburb outside Los Angeles. Chatter around the city — which was home to the infamous Rodney King trial and traditionally known for its conservative politics — and was not particularly suited to the idea of a march on social media. The business has climbed out of fear of the destruction that took place about 40 miles away in LA. Chances were high that the turnout could be low.
“I commented, like you know, ‘Even if there are only three people, I’ll still be there,” Foster said of E! News of his mindset leading to the incident.
And yet, when she arrived at the intersection almost smack-deb in the center of the city, a completely different story was being told.
A crowd was overflowing, they would soon start coming down while filling the street. Final estimate of size over 2,000. “I can’t believe it,” he admitted. “I mean, at the beginning of the protest, I honestly couldn’t see how far back it went because I was near Chase Bank, so I could only see that little corner. It was myself, “Oh my God. What’s up? Did I do it? How did I do it?”
An 18-year-old with no prior experience in community organizing – whose prom and graduation was canceled between COVID-19 – inspires with a force that has left a community, as he said , “Like an outsider.”
It all started, he told E-Time with an off-hand comment on FaceTime.
Michael Coon / Acorn Newspaper
“I was honestly just on FaceTime with a friend of mine, Alyssa Brown, And I was like ‘You know what, we should protest in SIMI,’ “said Foster. ‘And she was like,’ Why are you still talking to me? Go plan ”
She never lived in her life until only one protest – as long as it was not for the environment – but she knew that she wanted to take action at home, as people were doing all over the country. What happened to ” George Floyd, Ahmad Arbe, And Bryo taylor Foster’s been happening to black people forever, “Foster explained.” I do not think that this new thing did not necessarily happen. It was so much that it kept happening again and again, and I always felt that I could do nothing. Like I was very young. “
Only after participating in a protest at LA’s Pan Pacific Park did she become firm in her plan to take action.
“That sense of empowerment definitely helped,” said Foster. “Just realizing that unity, that we all have the same goals and we’re here to support each other, was very helpful [in] Motivating myself, when I was being threatened or some people were saying that I should not do this. “
It’s certainly not sad that she is drawing Groan-ish Actress and activist Yara Shahidi His “number one inspiration.” As Foster described his affection for Shahidi, “Yara has always been very vocal and never runs away from the camera when people start asking ‘tough questions.” She uses her platform to bring injustice to light. Black people go through and empower the black community and the younger generation to become more involved. He set up his own summit to bring young activists together in the community and express the importance of voting. “
After accidentally shooting a tweet – “Protest in Simi? I’m ‘in’ or something like that,” he recalled – reacted more than expected, he, Brown, and a few other friends got to work. When and where the simple logistics and a flyer took place. Once the scene began to revolve, he was approached Ruth Luvanos, A member of Simi Valley city council.
Courtesy Leslie Foster
Foster said Leuvenos wanted to show his support, with the organizer saying that he felt Foster was “doing a great job.” It was through a council member, she said, that Foster was able to “cater to a group of different community leaders and community organizers who eventually helped me make Saturday.”
Not everyone was as supportive as the Luevanos though. After emailing the entire city council, as well as the city’s mayor, chief of police and the school board, “give these public officials a chance to join the community and, you know, make our voices heard in the true sense of the city” There are often people making decisions on specific things happening in, “Mayor Pro Tem Mike judge Without obtaining Foster’s consent, his letter and his response to it were made public.
In their response, as stated by the local paper Ventura County Star, The judge wrote that he was “hard-pressed to find an example of a truly peaceful protest,” and that “almost all protests have, to date, turned to violence and destruction.” He then asked her to “reconsider this protest march, and call it off.”
As Foster pointed out, “Under his original post … a lot of the comments were sincerely in support of me, saying how unfair it was. His social media, however, was a different story.” [was] A lot of people say, ‘We won’t let you go to the Simi Valley’ and one person even went on to say, ‘You’re going to find out what the AR-15 looks like off … I was getting Before he posted it, but apparently everyone knew it was me now, and my name is so unique, I think it made my social media a little more interesting to say the least. Too much traction and attention. . “
Judge and the city of Simi Valley are yet to return E! However, the news request for comment Ventura County Star Informed on 4 June the judge said he posted the posture “for transparency”. The report continued, “He also said that since he used his city’s email address, the email was a public record and his name was already one of the protest organizers on social media.”
Despite the threats so far as to include a claim that someone had “received my address, my phone number and pictures of my family,” Foster remained committed to the cause. After talking with her mother, Leslie Foster, She was reminded of her family’s history in the civil rights fight. “Her parents… were part of CORE [Congress of Racial Equality] Back in the 60s, “she shared, referring to her maternal grandparents.” Marched with my grandfather Martin Luther King Jr. And … they had heard worse than me and they kept walking and going. So that really helps me maintain that motivation. “
“The people who are saying all these things are just proving to me that this needs to happen because there are a lot of people at SIMI who feel how I do and who are different in elementary and middle and high school. Foster continued, “Foster continued,” and who are really going to make a positive impact on the kind of unity that will come out of Saturday. “
Despite apprehensions, threats and boarding-up occupations, Joe Foster admitted “perhaps there was an impact on those who are already afraid to come,” he and his group of volunteer-based “pacifists” did just that : A march and subsequent rally, accompanied by a program of speakers, resulted in zero incidents of violence and ended right on time.
The reception for the event has become very hot, Foster told E! “A lot of new people have come in, who will only give me DM or message me or something, and that’s really great,” she explained. “I have such a hard time accepting it because they would say, ‘Thank you for putting it up. Our city needed it, it really helped empower the city.” And I’m like, ‘Yes, I know, but also, you don’t have to thank me.’ Most of the time, I would answer, ‘Oh, thank you. it is very cute.’ But yes, I just got so much support. “
On top of the support, people have also started asking what lies ahead. His reaction? “I’m like, ‘Yes I’m thinking. I got you. We still have to be careful because of COVID-19, but we’re going to do something because this movement is far away.”
As she advances her next steps and prepares to attend UCLA in the fall, where she will study business economics and political science with a minor in global studies, Foster said, “I’ve always known That I will somehow get involved in activism, but I am still learning properly which path will be formed. “
For now, she hopes to encourage others of her age in small towns similar to the Simi Valley who may be interested in following in her footsteps.
“I would say it would have to do,” Foster said with a laugh. “Definitely know what you’re doing because it’s a lot of work and I certainly wasn’t ready. But as long as you have a strong support system – nine times out of 10, you won’t be the only person. That community. Whoever wants to do this and who wants to change … just do it. “