SOLVANG, Calif. — With Black Lives Matter protests throughout the country calling for the defunding of police, one group decided it was time to show support for local officers.
On Saturday, Bill Giorgi organized a Blue Lives Matter rally outside the Solvang Veterans' Memorial Building to display support for law enforcement.
"They're members of our community, they're our friends,” Giorgi said. “We want to show them that we support them and need them."
"We would like people to see what position the law enforcement is in and what they're going through,” another rally organizer Peggy Kono said. “Just be more supportive and be there for them."
Many rallygoers were decked out in red, white and blue.
They also carried posters and waved American flags.
"It's awesome, we've gotten such a great turn out,” Kono said. “A lot of support, more than we thought we were going to have."
However, many attendees did not wear masks while taking part in the rally.
Others voiced their support for the “All lives matter” slogan.
"All lives matter to me is we're all citizens of the United States of America and it's important that we recognize that,” rallygoer Brennan Moore said. “We all should support each other."
Throughout the afternoon, organizers hoped to show their support while urging public officials to not defund the police.
"We want to show them that there's support out there from the American people, that we support our law enforcement,” Giorgi said. “They need to or we're going to lose our country."
Across the street, Black Lives Matter protestors gathered together to oppose the rally.
"We worry that people of color and minorities who drive by here would see this and feel like they're not welcomed,” protester Sean Cummings said. “We want to make sure that they know people are here who care about them too.”
Despite the opposition, rally organizers hoped to achieve peaceful conversation between both sides.
"We all need to work together,” Giorgi concluded. “It’s the only way we're going to solve any problems."