LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Saturday marked 136 days of protests in Louisville demanding justice for Breonna Taylor.
Since the protests started in late May, the marches have ebbed and flowed, from marches with a dozen protesters to ones with over 1,000. On Saturday afternoon, a group known as allies, who protesters say are integral to the movement, marched in Louisville by the hundreds. Allies are white people who support the social justice cause to end racism and racial inequality. The protest, March To Justice, was organized by Marc Murphy, the political cartoonist for The Courier-Journal. He said it was meant to bring more allies into the cause for support and solidarity.
“We are here now because the people who have been here all of these months do what you just did every single day,” Murphy said to over 500 protesters at Jefferson Square Park.
The just over three-mile march started in a predominately white neighborhood. From Tyler Park, hundreds marched to Jefferson Square Park in downtown, where another event called The Unity Fair, featuring food, music, and vendors, was also taking place.
Murphy said after 136 days of protesting, people of color are tired. He said Saturday’s march was a way for white people to step-up and continue the momentum of the movement and show their support.
“They are going to continue to do it, but now that you are here and now you know where they are, we can join them as well. They need to know that we stand with them as allies,” Murphy told the crowd.
One of the protesters Saturday, Jordan Dejarnette, said she started marching after the attorney general’s office announced the grand jury’s decision.
“I think that white people need to do our part because we are the ones who the system is built to protect, so we have to do our part to help dismantle it,” she said.
While marching, the protesters took up the whole street. Anice Shenault with the organization Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) said that prior to everyone marching, she addressed the protesters to let them know what to do if the police showed up. However, they never did.
“I think it’s very important to note that, and while we were happy that the police left us alone today, if you look and see so many of the marches in the last 136 days that were led by people of color doing the exact same thing on the exact same streets, the police came and used violent means to arrest folks. So we do want to hold LMPD accountable. I’m not saying I wish that they had shown up, but I think it does show how the system works differently for different people,” Shenault said.
Kentucky State Representative Attica Scott, who made headlines when she was arrested by LMPD while protesting, did not participate in the March To Justice Saturday. However, she was at Jefferson Square Park for another event when the allies marching showed up. She said allies are important because they are the majority.
“Because, specifically white people, have the opportunity to influence politics and advocacy and public policy and practices and procedures in the city and the state because white people are the majority. White people have to own their voice and their power for justice,” she said. “If you are going to be an armchair activist, at least be an activist for justice. If you can show up, show up, but do something, do something while people are out there fighting for their lives.”