By Daisy Olivo
The Black Lives Matter movement is continuing its legacy and impact in Riverside.
Nearly two years after the protests following George Floyd’s murder, an unarmed Black man, now convicted Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison.
While almost everyone rejoiced that the former police officer was found guilty of his crimes, some feel he deserved a harsher sentence.
“Twenty-two years doesn’t make up for George Floyd being dead,” Valerie Villar, a Cal State Fullerton student, said.
Other Riverside residents felt similarly in that not enough has been done since the protests.
“You look at the Rittenhouse case — he’s not in jail,” Uriel Soto, a BLM advocate, said. “Guarantee you if I had done the same s—, I would have gotten some time.”
Some community members believe the movement has created a voice for those who live in marginalized communities.
“I feel that the protests brought to light the undercover racism that people of color in our society continue to face, even in this day and age,” said Jacky Monterrosa, a student who attends the University of California, Riverside (UCR). “The BLM Movement not only made the racists stand out more, but it also gave the oppressed a voice.”
Diana Torres, an active community member and BLM activist, attended many of the protests in 2020.
She continues to involve herself with BLM and believes it has created an everlasting effect in her community.
Non-profit organizations affiliated with BLM, like Feed the Block IE, Blk Collective and the Brown Berets continue to offer support through donations and events to help marginalized communities.
Most activists who were heavily involved with the protests continue to stay affiliated with the organization.
“With the topic having ‘died down,’ it is important to remember that the protests started a movement, not a trend,” Soto said. “Being a part of a movement doesn’t mean going back to being silent once it is no longer trending or a hot topic. True Black Lives Matter supporters would continue to preach it even when it seems everyone else stopped listening. The fight for equal treatment is never really over.”