Bringing real-world issues to Tehachapi is not disturbing the peace, it's addressing problems in our own communities, and that is what we as protesters do. Recognizing that our fellow Black community and people of color are our family, friends and neighbors is the first step to honoring their lives in life and death. Stop ignoring this! We, too, live here and should have an honest input in our community’s decisions and conversation topics.

“No Justice, No Peace” does not mean we are going to box it out or burn things down. It simply means we are not putting up with things that have broken us down generation after generation. It means we will check and blast your bad habits like racism, privilege, policy failures in all systems, and especially police brutality and murder of people of color. Everyone in the U.S. can come together and fix what American settlers once broke down and spit on.

We as protesters are telling you something very important! WE ARE INCLUDED! Whether you want to see it or not. Whether you like it or not.

These “vagabonds” you talk about, who are they? These “hormonal imbalanced kids,” who are they? I am very much wondering if you are addressing us this way because several are part of the LGBTQ community?

Please, take a stance already! Either come out of the racist closet or address real-time issues properly using your platform for good instead of spewing ignorance and sugarcoating your hatefulness.

Educate yourself and the community on racial issues such as racial profiling, discrimination, colorism, and all the injustices people of color suffer in every system you can possibly think of. This includes the health-care system, mental health-care system, the school system, the prison system, the veterans' programs, and so on.

I would also like to address the honorableness and humbleness of all Tehachapi protesters for taking a stance, for going out there and expressing your loyalty as a society. If you haven’t noticed these people come from different backgrounds, races and beliefs. Some of these people are proudly part of the LGBTQ community and others proudly support it. If that is a problem for you, please take a look around, at your family, friends, neighbors and community. I promise you one thing; you love someone who who isn’t like you and to not support this matter you are not supporting them!

I would also like to highlight that you do not need to go out to the streets to protest. You do it every day by accepting the way people live by their preferences, by helping people live and grow differently, holding down tough conversations with yourself and others, and just by truly appreciating the value of any life. Being aware, accepting our differences, and rejecting injustices, racism and prejudice, I believe, is the only the start of a better life for everyone.

Brenda Zavala lives in Tehachapi.

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