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Black Lives Matter, Indigenous groups rally for justice on Fourth of July

Protesters rally and march against systematic racism and police brutality, and for indigenous rights on the Fourth of July in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Protesters rally and march against systematic racism and police brutality, and for indigenous rights on the Fourth of July in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

July 5 (UPI) -- Black Lives Matter demonstrators and indigenous groups held rallies Saturday calling attention to injustices facing people of color in America amid the Fourth of July holiday.

Rallies were held Saturday in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Chicago and other cities throughout the nation continuing calls for justice for victims of police violence and proposing that the Independence Day celebration is hypocritical given ongoing discrimination against indigenous people and people of color in the country.

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In Los Angeles, more than 400 people gathered downtown to call for justice for George Floyd, Breonna, Taylor, Andres Guardado and others killed by police as well as soldier Vanessa Guillen who was killed at Fort Hood.

Indigenous leader Shannon Rivers of the Akimel O'otham people called on demonstrators to "decolonize" their minds, while Jessa Calderon of the Tongva Nation guided participants on a march while pointing out historic areas of the Tongva homeland.

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Demonstrators in Washington, D.C., marched in support of black lives near the National Mall and Karrigan Williams, co-founder of Freedom Fighters D.C., led a "Juliberation" march, saying that the Independence Day holiday "doesn't really mean anything when black people weren't free on July 4th and those same liberties weren't afforded to us."

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"We're still marching for the same things," he said.

Dozens of law students also conducted a sit-in outside the Supreme Court honoring black women who were killed by police.

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"This being a celebration of independence, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, I'll be talking about these are not things black women have been given the space to celebrate," said Amy Yeboah, a professor of African Studies at Howard University. "Their justice is still being considered."

Hundreds of people also gathered in downtown Chicago on Saturday afternoon as they marched through neighborhoods and knelt in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in memory of Floyd.

"Independence for people of color has not been part of our livelihood. We're constantly murdered, harassed because of police brutality all over the country," said organizer Rabbi Michael Ben Yosef. "The concept of freedom does not seem to come to our doorstep, even though we've been here 400 years."

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