Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize awarded to Lompoc Black Lives Matter organizers – Lompoc Record

The five leaders named, Anthony Vickery, 21, Kongie Richardson, Keith Joseph, 24, Raelyn Person, 23, and Jason Bryson, were responsible for organizing one of Lompoc'slargestdemonstrations for social justice following the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died after a Caucasian police officer in Minneapolis knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes on Memorial Day.

The death of Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died after a police officer in Minneapolis knelt on his neck for more than 8 minutes on Memorial Day, sparked a national response that also shook Lompoc.

The June 2 protest, which drew hundreds of participants from various racial, religious and political backgrounds, remained peaceful, according to officials, who reported that no vandalism occurred.

Both Joseph and Vickery, on behalf the their group, thanked prize sponsorsValley of the Flowers United Church of Christ, and Vickery acknowledged all the nominees for their own community outreach and acts of kindness.

"It goes beyond the award just knowing that the community can come together when it wants to," Vickery said. "Everybody is so scared to make that change, but once one person does it, it's like a ripple effect. Things can happen."

Joseph explained that although brutality is nothing new, for him the death of Floyd tookmore time to process.

"To watch someone dieslowly on camera," Joseph said, "that one was different."

In contrast to focusing on Black lives solely, Joseph said the group's efforts were meant to benefit the community as a wholeand serve as a powerful reminder that the nation's not-too-distant history was plagued by racial segregation.

While the aim to improve mental health resources for local schools remains central to his campaign, Murkison, who is Black, said he also hopes to cast a wider net on youth representation and diversity while serving on the school board.

"We just spoke from the heart," he said, recalling the intensity of the protest and the many challenges of organizing it. "It wasn't just Black lives; it's just wanting to help the community."

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Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize awarded to Lompoc Black Lives Matter organizers - Lompoc Record

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