Sacramento community joins up to collect donations to help with the fight for change

“This is people power; it’s community collaboration.”


The Sacramento LGBT Community Center and the Gender Health Center stationed themselves in the Center’s parking lot on 20th and J Street in downtown Sacramento to provide medical supplies for protesters, on June 2, 2020. Volunteers assembled care kits that contained medical supplies, snacks, and water to be distributed for the demonstrators while they marched against police brutality. (Photo by Emily Mello)

Heather Amberson, Staff Writer

On a hot afternoon in early June, in a parking lot near the Sacramento LGBT Community Center in downtown Sacramento, individuals set up a donation tent, with two tables underneath it, each one stocked with multiple cases of water, boxes of snacks and medical supplies. People gathered around the tent, wearing gloves and masks, and started putting together care packages that included medical supplies going into a ziplock bag.

People holding boxes of supplies walked up to the tent to donate things. 

Members of the LGBT Center and the Gender Health Center teamed up in the parking lot of the LGBT Center to collect donations that would be used to aid demonstrators later that evening, as they fought for change. 

In the wake of protests after the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes, the Sacramento community, including the Gender Health Center and the Sacramento LGBT Community Center, came together to help demonstrators by keeping them safe and giving needed supplies.

Near the tent, a small group of people wearing masks and black shirts, with red tape in the shape of a cross, make spray bottles of solution that consist of baking soda and water.

Irina Beffa, marketing and development coordinator at the Gender Health Center, described what was going to happen with the donations. 

“[We are here to] provide essential services, medical supplies and safety gear, [along with] water and snacks to folks who are going to be on the ground possibly,” Beffa said. 

Adrianne Pennington, a community activist who was also helping with the donation tent, said that this was the community coming together. 

“This is people power; this is the community coming through to create alternatives to the current systems that we have in place, that aren’t really serving marginalized and oppressed people,” Pennington said. “This is people power; it’s community collaboration.” 

Sandi Kaplan, who was volunteering at the donation tent, filled care packages for the medics while explaining why she is doing this work.

“This is what we’ve been waiting for, to change the system already. This is the time [to make a change], everyone around the world is watching us right now,” Kaplan said. 

At Cesar Chavez Plaza,  thousands of demonstrators gathered near a makeshift altar dedicated to African-Americans who were killed by cops. Signs read “Black Lives Matter” along with candles and flowers surround the steps along with a pile of packages of water and jugs of milk that make for cooling relief if anyone got tear-gassed by police.

Also at the park, people handed out pizza, snacks, hand sanitizer and water to protesters, both before and after the march. 

Among those individuals is an activist, who goes by the name Red Dog, who set up a table in the park, with a sign that read “Feeding the revolution,” and handed out vegan food, pizza, snacks and water to anyone who needed it. Red Dog said they are also awaiting a hip surgery and can’t walk very well, so they thought this would be a good alternative. 

“I’ve been an activist for 35 years, and I can’t really march as much, so this is a really good way to fill a niche,” Red Dog said. “People are out here, they need sustenance and water. We set up a table and cooked up some food, and then people just started bringing stuff to us.” 

People everywhere come to bring food and cases of bottled water, according to Red Dog. 

“People from all over the place come and drop stuff off in order to make sure everyone has everything [they need],” Red Dog said. 

During the protest’s march, people were stationed around the route with water and snacks for protesters to refuel along the way. 

Back at the donation tent, Beffa oversaw the progress being made with the donations, where care packages had been made and put into a wagon, with a sign that read “Black Lives Matter!” and “Address systemic racism.” 

The donation tent could return in future days, according to Beffa. 

“The goal is to have all these supplies accessible to the community as they need them, so check our social media [for ways to donate],” Beffa said. 

To learn more about where and when to donate, follow @genderhealthsac on Instagram.