|Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Wednesday, June 3, and I’m writing from Los Angeles.
Sitting atop a slow-moving black Jetta on Spring Street with her legs dangling through the sunroof, Gianna Garcia held her small, clenched fist aloft, high above a sea of protesters.
Speaking through a light-colored leopard print mask, the 8-year-old girl said that people needed to know that protesters like her were strong and powerful.
“It’s going to be a good army,” she said, as men and women protesting the the killing of George Floyd stretched as far as the eye could see. She was clutching a sign that read: #ChargeAllFour, referencing the four Minneapolis police officers involved in Floyd’s death.
Gianna’s mother, Maureen Maldonado, was in the back seat, holding another sign with the words “I can’t breathe,” followed by a list of names too long to fit on a single piece of cardboard. There were two more girls hanging off the back of the car, fists raised, and another guy riding on the dented-up hood, holding a sign scrawled with an expletive, followed by a slang term for law enforcement.
Maldonado and her daughter had been protesting for four days. Coronavirus had “removed all types of childcare” from the 38-year-old office manager’s life, but she also believed that her daughter needed to be here. She didn’t know how much impact a single person like her could have on the world, but there was one thing she was certain about: “The only change I can make is that I shape my daughter the right way,” Maldonado said.
And Gianna had clear feelings about why she was on the roof of a moving car in downtown Los Angeles on a Tuesday afternoon. “Our colors are treated differently,” she said, referencing the fact that she and her mother are Latina.
“We don’t have any peace, neither do we have any justice,” the 8-year-old continued, sounding eerily grown-up for someone who was wearing a children’s T-shirt covered in tiny photos of cats and unwrapping a granola bar as she spoke.
Gianna and her mother were among the thousands who converged across Southern California on Tuesday for peaceful protests that began in the morning and continued into the night.
Marchers streamed through Hollywood, downtown L.A. and outside Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Hancock Park home. Downtown, Garcetti joined the crowd, took a knee and pulled down his blue Dodgers face mask to speak. Chants of “Defund the police” continued as the mayor spoke.
[Read the story: “More than 1,000 protesters converge on Mayor Garcetti’s residence, demand change” in the Los Angeles Times]
The scene grew more chaotic downtown as the sun set on a county with a sweeping overnight curfew again in place, and officers began making arrests there about an hour after the 6 p.m. curfew had passed. There had been no reports of looting downtown as of late Tuesday night.
[Read the story: “Huge, peaceful protests spread across L.A. and end in more arrests” in the Los Angeles Times]
Nearly 3,000 people have been arrested at Southern California protests since Friday. Booking records reviewed by The Times show the vast majority of those arrested in Los Angeles County for looting, vandalism and burglary offenses are from here, seeming to refute perceptions of “outside agitators” coming in to fuel unrest.
And now, here’s what’s happening across California:
USC will bring students back to campus for the fall semester amid the coronavirus crisis with several safety measures that include both online and in-person classes, more spacing in dorms and testing for COVID-19, President Carol L. Folt announced Tuesday night. Some students were considering taking a gap year if USC did not resume in-person classes. Los Angeles Times
SAT tests may not be available this fall to all students who want to take the college admissions exam as the coronavirus crisis has limited the availability of testing sites and efforts to develop an at-home exam have run into roadblocks, the College Board announced. Los Angeles Times
Many people were initially shut out of an L.A. Police Commission meeting because the Zoom meeting had been limited to 500 participants. After the settings were adjusted to allow more to attend, many speakers called on Police Chief Michel Moore to resign because of his remark that looters were as responsible for Floyd’s death as the Minneapolis police officers were. Los Angeles Times
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After vandalism hit their restaurant, a family hardly has time to ask, “What’s next?” How the owner of Sunnin in Santa Monica faced the aftermath. Los Angeles Times
Police tactics during L.A. protests may lead to more cases of COVID-19, according to experts who explain that the increased coughing and sneezing caused by tear gas could also increase the spread of coronavirus. LAist
The inside story of the night that changed L.A. clubs forever: An oral history of the coronavirus pandemic, as told by the staffs of four iconic L.A. nightclubs: the Troubadour, McCabe’s Guitar Shop, Sound and the Satellite. Los Angeles Times
Manager Ashanti Rogers, left, and owner Jeff Wolfram at the Satellite (née Spaceland), an independent music venue in Silver Lake that was a hip neighborhood mainstay for local and established indie music bands. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
L.A. halts storage-unit evictions during the coronavirus: Storage-unit renters financially strained by the coronavirus can defer payments now, and for up to three months after the city calls an end to its local state of emergency, according to the new law passed by the City Council and signed by the mayor. Los Angeles Times
Influential showrunners exchange ideas on what new TV productions might look like when Hollywood gets back to filming. “We don’t know when we’re going to film again, but you have to write about news.” Los Angeles Times
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POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT
With protests erupting across the country, President Trump is ripping a page from Richard Nixon’s playbook, claiming to stand for “law and order” and calling out to the “silent majority” that he hopes will grant him a second term. But 2020 is a long way from 1968, and there’s no assurance that Trump’s message will resonate the same way it did for Nixon decades ago. Los Angeles Times
The Pentagon said Tuesday night it had moved approximately 1,600 active duty troops to bases outside Washington, D.C. The troop movements were ordered by Defense Secretary Mark Esper “as a prudent planning measure.” Using active duty troops in Washington would require President Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act, which he raised as a possibility Monday but has not yet done. Los Angeles Times
California’s black lawmakers urge support for bills to address systemic inequality: Black lawmakers gathered Tuesday at the state Capitol to urge the passage of legislation that would address affirmative action, voting rights and begin a process to consider reparations in California for the institution of slavery. Los Angeles Times
CRIME AND COURTS
Looters targeted Fairfield shops in the Bay Area and vandalized a Best Buy with a big crane. San Francisco Chronicle
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HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Santa Clara County — home to the nation’s first coronavirus shelter-in-place order — is loosening restrictions. The county, which is Northern California’s most populous and includes Silicon Valley, will allow outdoor dining, in-store shopping and outdoor religious services starting Friday as part of a new, loosened shelter-in-place order. Mercury News
Coronavirus cases spike among Marin County essential workers as more testing is urged. Grocery store employees are among those who test positive most frequently. Los Angeles Times
Hundreds marched in Bay Area cities. People gathered in San Francisco, East Oakland, Redwood City and Vallejo on Tuesday evening ahead of mandatory curfews. San Francisco Chronicle
“I’m just another protester if I go down there alone, but no one can ignore a black woman sitting on top of a horse.” Brianna Noble, 25, on why she rode her horse, Dapper Dan, in Oakland protests. The Guardian
Tech companies say they support racial justice. Their actions raise questions. Los Angeles Times
“God, it’s so hard to tell your story, America.” KPCC producer Austin Cross with a searing piece about being “black and tired” in an American newsroom. LAist
A poem to start your Wednesday: “Ode to the Unbroken World, Which Is Coming” by Thomas Lux. Poets.org
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Los Angeles: sunny, 85. San Diego: sunny, 76. San Francisco: sunny, 73. San Jose: sunny, 94. Fresno: sunny, 103. Sacramento: sunny, 103. More weather is here.
Today’s California memory comes from Joe Brock, who writes of riding the Santa Fe Super Chief across the country to California:
Mom singing “California, here I come.” The journey was amazing, our family departed from Albany, N.Y., to Orange. The teen freedom to explore every inch except the locomotive, meeting kids from every state in the union. Sleeping in the observation car looking up through the moon roof at the stars, parents happy to let us go, in the knowledge we couldn’t get lost. Our tanned grandparents and cool cousins anxiously waiting to see their daughter, her U.S. Marine husband and us three grandkids.
If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)
Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints, ideas and unrelated book recommendations to Julia Wick. Follow her on Twitter @Sherlyholmes.