More than 1,000 people marched from the Embarcadero up Market Street to City Hall Friday in a protest against police killings.
At San Francisco's iconic corner of Market and Powell Streets, where tourists usually catch street cars and jewelry displays line the sidewalks, protesters stopped and sat quietly in the street, some crying, for a reading of the names of people killed by police over six months this year in America.
The reading and recitation of names took about two minutes.
"Everything feels like it's reaching a boiling point," said San Francisco native Sean Ilumin, who also said he took comfort in seeing a diverse group come together.
Dobbae Thorne looked around at the crowd and said it's important for her to be there. The lack of black folks at the demonstration was indicative of San Francisco's population for Thorne, with barely six percent of the city identifying as black, according to the 2013 U.S. Census.
"All these people holding signs can walk around without getting their head bashed in by police," said Thorne.
By 8 o'clock, at its zenith, the protest stretched some three blocks long and had shut down Market Street to traffic.
Drew Rivers, 20, a San Francisco native said systematic racism is a part of his life "every day, every week."
"My heart aches for my people," Rivers said. "I want people to know, we're here and we're very much alive."
As San Francisco Police Department Officers lined up along the City Center Plaza, Imani Brown of Bernal Heights, stood silent in front of them with a sign that read: "Stop killing black people."
Brown said: "We need to value black mothers' children just as much as white mothers' children."
Once demonstrators reached City Hall, protesters rigged up a makeshift sound system with bullhorns, and moved through the crowd.
People took to the mic to speak about injustice and civil rights.
The crowd became utterly silent as one person after another told stories of their personal experiences of police harassment. Some read poems, others told tragic family histories at the steps of City Hall.
"To be a black man anywhere right now at the hands of the justice system is scary," Devon Parks of San Jose said. "We should have equality."