While some are doing their talking with protest signs outside BPD headquarters, another local demonstrator — of a sort — is adopting a different strategy and a softer tone in her push for change.
Her name is Crimson Skye Hochhalter, and she is a 24-year-old activist who has organized what she says will be a peaceful Black Lives Matter sit-in from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday.
For four straight nights now, upwards of 300 people have demonstrated throughout Bakersfield. Crimson Skye — as she is known professionally — says she has found another way to address the troubling status quo: Sit, sing and then be silent.
Many protesters across the U.S. say the death of George Floyd, killed by Minneapolis police last week, is indicative of a historically persistent problem in america — a systemic devaluation of black lives. Now, across the country, thousands are taking their anger to the streets. Counter protests of a sort – prayer vigils, a solidarity walk and other nonconfrontational gatherings are taking place.
Crimson Skye — yes, that’s her real first and middle name — is a singer, songwriter and the impetus behind an awareness campaign that kicks off Wednesday at Mill Creek Park. She says everyone is welcome — all races, kids, dogs, whatever.
“It’s a reaction to the energy that everyone can feel right now,” she said. “It is just so palpable — you wake up and you’re thinking about it. I don’t think I’m alone in that. I can’t just do nothing — and I know I’m not doing nothing, because I am taking certain action. But it doesn’t feel like enough. But doing what we’re gonna do tomorrow feels like a start
“… I feel like now is the time for everyone to speak — not just black people,” Hochhalter said. “This is just a time for everyone to speak.”
Hochhalter said she simply had to do something to foster cooperation and ratchet down the noise.
“Focus on having an open mind, you know, and draw some conclusions,” said Hochhalter, a well-known, well-regarded performer whose jobs are selling real estate and coaching high school tennis. “But sometimes the conclusion can’t be drawn. You have to keep taking in information and keep learning, and keep growing and evolve.”
Hochhalter says the first step in repairing society is simply sitting down together and opening a conversation, literally and figuratively.