Skateboarders united en mass for the #RollingForRightsSD protest against racial injustice and work toward systemic change by peacefully pushing together through the streets of San Diego on Saturday, June 23. More than 1,500 skateboarders flooded the downtown district the day before International Go Skateboarding Day to show, as a community, support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
“Skateboarders bring a positive example of unity. Growing up skateboarding I had all different types of friends: Black, White, Mexican, Asian. It didn’t matter because we all had one goal: learn how to skateboard and express ourselves… Skateboarding brings people together.” — Tyrone Olson
The demonstration began in Balboa Park where skateboarders brought and built protest signage while spray painting clenched fists on their griptape as a symbol of solidarity and support. Though an unofficial #BLM protest, #RollingForRightsSD was organized by a few of San Diego’s prominent professional skateboarders, including Tyrone Olson, Shuriken Shannon, Brandon Taylor, and Tommy Sandoval.
“If you are a skateboarder you should have an open mind because skateboarding is freedom in how you express yourself,” said Tyrone Olson in the days following the event. Olson is a legendary skateboarder who started his career as a professional more than two decades ago in San Diego and has remained an active icon in the community.
“Skateboarders bring a positive example of unity. Growing up skateboarding I had all different types of friends: Black, White, Mexican, Asian. It didn’t matter because we all had one goal: learn how to skateboard and express ourselves… Skateboarding brings people together.”
The crowd at #RollingForRightsSD absolutely reflected that described diverse community, as did the messages found on their corresponding homemade signs. From demands of justice for specific individuals to systemic changes across fundamental civic services, each skateboarder came together to express an overwhelming desire for sweeping change.
Protestors received assistance from more than 30 volunteers in the form of providing first aid, directions, water, snacks, and other materials needed for the successful demonstration. The San Diego City Police also showed up in the moments leading up to the push to provide additional securities for the protesting skateboarders, however, they were not needed as the entire expression remained peaceful from start to finish.
“For anyone out there that may see any injustice of any sort, I recommend they speak out. If nothing is said, then something worse is going to happen.” — Shuriken Shannon
“We just rounded up all the resources that we could and put the message out to the San Diego skate community and the entire worldwide as a human being,” said Shuriken Shannon, another storied professional skateboarder whose career has started and centered around San Diego skateboarding. “It is important for everyone to know what is going on during this sensitive time.”
Following the initial #RollingForRightsSD protest has been an outcry of gratitude toward the organizers, as well as numerous inquiries about the possibilities of a follow-up event. Additionally, the demonstration received local media coverage by Fox 5, NBC 7, and KPBS as well as a TikTok video that broke a million views the night of the event and has since gone viral furthering the reach of this first gathering from the skateboard community in the area.
“It shouldn’t stop here,” continued Shannon, “This is a day-by-day battle and it has been for years beyond our era. We are all learning this together, and in this day and age it is really important for us to [understand] what’s going on.”
“For anyone out there that may see any injustice of any sort, I recommend they speak out,” pleaded Shannon. “If nothing is said, then something worse is going to happen.”
On Tuesday, June 23, Shannon posted a photo to his Instagram story showing the organizers of @RollingForRightsSD circled up for a meeting. The caption of the photo read “@ROLLINGFORRIGHTSSD MOVEMENT CONTINUES.” In response to an inquiry, #RollingForRightsSD confirmed the next event is scheduled for July 18 at City Heights’ Park De La Cruz.
“My message to the skateboard community,’ said Olson, “Stay focused on school, teaching others to love and follow your dreams. Never hate on anybody because of their skin color. It’s time for change.”
“Much love and thanks to everyone that came out and supported #RollingForRightsSD,” said Shannon with great pride in his San Diego skateboard community. “Let’s ride on.”
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Those asking, We’re working on our next event 🗓 We want everyone to be safe & our message to be clear. Remember, we have power in numbers. We stand in solidarity. We are building strength within the San Diego skate community. These things take time. Stay posted for updates. Don’t let your foot off the gas!!! 🗣 by @bturner_ #rollingforrights #sandiego Footage provided by Nocturnes Films, Brent Hyden, Michael McConnell, Eduardo Balderas, Mind Over Matter Media, and Blake Mclam
Skateboarders In Solidarity
As skateboarders, we are taught from the very beginning to resist authority, and with that resistance for authority came a general resistance for government and all things political.
The time for that to change is NOW!
Here at Rolling for Rights we aim to bridge the gap between skateboarding and politics, because the most effective way we, as a community, can TRULY resist authority is to become politically informed. Our mission is to help inform, listen, educate, and stand in solidarity with our skateboard community in San Diego to fight against racial injustice and work towards systemic change.
Being a member of the San Diego skateboard community means you are a part of the largest skateboard movement in the entire world. Skateboarding is all inclusive & we need to use that unity to be a part of the change. We’ve got the numbers, we can be the power.