On June 5, at the Los Gatos “Black Lives Matter” protest. These two guys, one white and the other asian. Showed up and started, scaring the kids, who were doing speeches at the park, in front of the Post Office. The white man in his mid-fifties, was flipping the bird, with both hands, saying “Fuck you!”, “All Lives Matter!”. To the 900 people, in attendance.
There were families there, with their children. Some as young, as seven years old. I and Father David, the local priest, were doing our best, to deescalate the situation. The asian gentleman, that had been accompanying the white man. Was in complete compliance, with his white agitator.
Not noticing that the t-shirt, that I was wearing that day, read EXECUTIVE ORDER 9006.
Father David and myself, told the protestors, to not waste their energy on these men. Because they did not come, to break bread. They had come, only to disrupt. We finally got the men, to walk away. And that allowed the heartfelt speeches, from the kids and their parents, to continue.
But when the march began, the two men came back and taunted, the kids and their families once again. As the protesters marched down, Santa Cruz Ave. Again, father David and I, had to step between the two agitators, and the protestors. In order to keep the peace. Luckily, the two agitators, escaped into their business establishment, and left the protestors alone.
And on June 9th, while talking to a waiter outside, a Los Gatos restaurant. An asian gentleman, attempted to walk into the restaurant, without a mask. But, he was stopped at the door, and told by the waiter. That he could not enter the restaurant, without his mask. He then told the waiter, that he would retrieve his mask, and come right back. But before he could leave, I said to him, “Hey I recognize you!”.
He looked at me and stared. I said to him, “Weren’t you the same guy, who was supporting that “All lives Matter” white agitator, at the march, on June 5th?”. He then said to me, “All lives do matter!”. I told him, ” That is not the point.” “Do you realize, how many little kids you scared that day?” I was firm in my conviction, but not yelling at him. I asked him, “did you not notice, when I was in your face, at the protest. I was wearing a t-shirt that read, EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066?”. I asked him, “What is your ethnicity?”.
He told me that, he was Japanese. I said to him, “What if someone came to the Japanese internment camp, in California in 1942. And looked through the fence, at your grandparents. Looked at them right in their eyes, and said, All lives Matter!. How do you think your grandparents, would have felt about that? Your grandparents, fought and died in the war. Volunteered to fight in a war, to defend democracy. While at the same time, being treated like second class citizens”.
“Did Japanese Lives Matter” in 1942?” I asked him. He said “yes”. So, I said “what is the difference, between what happened then, and what is happening to black and brown people now?” He said, “there is no difference”. “Correct!”, I told him. “History is now repeating itself. And the only difference, is that today, it is us, and not you”. I then asked him, “Why did you align yourself with this white man, who was screaming, All Lives Matter?”. He told me, that he was the contractor, of the business owner. I then said to him, “So you have a vested interest, in maintaining your relationship with this man, right?” “Yes” he said. I asked him, ” At what cost?”
I said, ” You need to invest in change. And divest in a past, that won’t change”. Because the protest march, represents the future, of things to come. The youth of today, have their backs up against the wall. And they will not settle for anything else, but change. No matter how many cops, dominate the streets. The kids of today, will just wake up in the morning. Brush the dust off themselves. Rinse their tear gassed eyes, with milk.Make new signs, and keep marching forward. Because they know that, the future is in their hands, and not yours”.
I let him know that, we have listened to white history, since the days of Aristotle. “can’t you just take one moment, to listen to ours?”. The Japanese gentleman was refused service, at that restaurant. For his deeds, on June 5.
After spending time, at a friends restaurant on Santa Cruz Ave, that same day. I walked back to my car to leave, later that evening. On my way back, I walked passed the owners business, who had caused such a ruckus at the protest, on the 5th of June. And on his storefront windows, were posted, for all the world to see, “Black Power” signs.
“Sometimes human beings can amaze me. When they set their minds, on doing something”.
“But he insisted they move nonetheless, lest they be trapped by the changes that would squeeze them against ancient walls and crush our world to death.”- Frank O’Connor.