Reporter’s Notebook: Stimulus Symphony

Protester at the capitol, April 20, 2020. Photo by Karlos Rene Ayala

I had it in my head to make a series of documentaries about common people and how they are dealing with the fallout of COVID-19 in America. Nothing fancy, just simple questions, simple visuals and personal truths.

I was going to call this series STIMULUS and post roughly one a month. I did not expect my STIMULUS series to begin with protest videos, but they fit my thesis.

On Friday, April 17, I was sitting on my couch, giving my eyes a break from some social media timeline. After a few seconds, my eyes were back on my phone: I spied a video of what appeared to be a small group of patriotic-looking individuals by the Jiffy Lube on Capitol Ave. I figured the group was on the move to the state Capitol, an assumption I made from recent news articles concerning the surge of protests in regards to the shutdowns. I was correct.

I quickly headed downtown and documented the Walking For Us protest in front of the Capitol. t was a humble gathering of about 15 people, half of them children — a family event. They noted that I should join them for what they said would be a larger protest on Monday.

STIMULUS: SYMPHONY explores some nuances of the ideological landscape that made up Operation Gridlock, a partially vehicular protest engaging several hundred people of various ideological affiliations held in Sacramento on April 20. Predominantly, people appeared to be there in protest of the California shelter-in-place policy enacted by Gov. Gavin Newsom during the pandemic, but there was a wild spectrum of beliefs, ideas and ideologies.

Editor’s Note: Videographer Karlos Rene Ayala has handled numerous projects for Capitol Weekly, including our conference series and Open California’s Oral History project.

Want to see more stories like this? Sign up for The Roundup, the free daily newsletter about California politics from the editors of Capitol Weekly. Stay up to date on the news you need to know.

Sign up below, then look for a confirmation email in your inbox.


Support for Capitol Weekly is Provided by: