A 10-minute walk from Waldo dock, the inspiration for Otis Redding’s 1968 hit (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay, a crowd of hundreds gathered in a playing field.
The residents of Marin City, population 3,000, across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, are protesting against the killing of George Floyd, a black man, while under police restraint.
“Anyone who has a heart or soul and knows what has been going in this country for the last 400 years has to do something,” says Jill Stephens, a retired local who uses a stick to walk. “We have got to stop this violence”.
Floyd’s killing has reopened deep wounds in America’s racial history that are yet to be healed, leading to violent clashes between protesters, rioters and the National Guard.
But away from the major cities where protests have come to a head, there are hundreds taking place across smaller towns, including rural and Republican parts of America.
In Marin City, there were no guns with rubber bullets nor tear gas, just children cooling their heads on the lawn sprinklers, while the elderly sat on foldaway chairs, waving signs that condemned “white silence”, equating it to, “polite violence”.
“My arm is tired from holding up this sign since the 1960s”, read another, held aloft by a silver-haired man.
Last year Marin City was handed the first desegregation order in half a century after local education officials were accused of violating anti-discrimination laws by diverting staff resources to an academy in the majority white, affluent Sausalito just two miles north.
Sausalito has become an affluent tourist magnet, attracting day-trippers from San Francisco and featuring multi-million dollar homes with a view of the city.
Just like in Marin, hundreds of thousands of small town Americans are taking to the streets in solidarity against the systemic racial injustice experienced by African Americans in the US.
Dozens came together in Great Falls, a small city in the red state of Montana over the weekend, holding signs reading “black lives matter”.
In Stillwater, Oklahoma, a largely white, Republican town with a painful history of racial discrimination and segregation, locals marched around the local stadium earlier this week. Another protest is due to take place later this week after it was arranged by a 17-year-old schoolgirl, Emily Croft.
Another protest is due to go ahead in Republican Lovell, Wyoming.
“There seems to be a movement of police chiefs and senior law enforcement officials making public displays out of marching with protestors and calling for an end to social injustice and police brutality.” Dan Laffin, Lovell’s police chief, told local newspaper Oil City News.
“I will not march with protestors for the simple reason that these are the same tenants and values that I live by daily, no need for a special public announcement.”
Claims made by state officials that outsiders are responsible for much of the vandalism this week, some of which have been heavily scrutinised by local journalists, have sowed fear about even the most peaceful of protests.
“These protests are leading to violence, arson, and looting,” wrote one Sausalito resident on social media, saying that it was wrong to promote the peaceful protest.
A note “from the Sheriff” warning businesses to shut for the day and board up their property over disruption after the march in Marin was widely spread across social media, but later proved to be a hoax.
This did not stop business owners boarding up a Ferrari and Porsche dealership, along with a Starbucks and a Target supermarket, in anticipation of disruption.
In Sausalito, caretakers were nailing plywood to souvenir shops and an upscale restaurant as the protest began.
But as the sun went down the only action to be seen was couples dining at outdoor tables, a novelty after restrictions were lifted this week, watching the ships roll in.
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