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Topanga New Times, June 5, 2020

The death of George Floyd, the unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25, while a white police officer pinned him to the ground with his knee on his neck, ignited a firestorm of backlash unlike anything anyone has ever seen in this country. 

Topanga activists joined protests in Los Angeles over the tumultuous week of anger and outrage. Topanga was spared from damage by looters, but not the heartache of this agonizing moment in American history.

A sign appeared this week at the top of Topanga with Floyd’s last words in red paint: “Please, I can’t breathe.” Mandatory curfews impacted all of Los Angeles County, as rioters and looters came into conflict with peaceful protests, and spread destruction from Long Beach to Santa Monica. The tone in the Topanga community remains somber.

Protestors abandoned COVID-19 safety precautions, taking to the streets across the nation and the world to protest the injustice, but coronavirus remains a constant worry in the background of the civil unrest. California surpassed 100,000 cases in late May, with nearly 4,000 COVID-related fatalities.

Face coverings and social distancing are still required in public, and Los Angeles County—the hardest hit area in California—continues to report troublingly high numbers of new cases. However, on May 29, the county moved from “Safer at Home” to “Safer at Work and in the Community.” 

That change allows for most shops and restaurants to reopen, provided they meet stringent safety requirements, but one large segment of the population is still being asked to stay home: residents with pre-existing health conditions, and everyone 65 and older.

All canyon residents are encouraged to continue supporting our local businesses during this difficult time. Reopening is an arduous process, one that has been further complicated by the county curfew. 

Another way everyone can help end the coronavirus pandemic is by taking advantage of the county’s free COVID-19 testing program. TNT contributor Saori Wall shares what the experience is like in her article on page 11.

We’ll be checking with our local businesses as they reopen and will report back in the next issue of the Topanga New Times. This is an increasingly challenging time but we’ll get through it, together.

Stay safe, be well!

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