People raised signs, handed out cool water bottles, and sang loudly.
On Sunday, hundreds of people with a police escort walked two miles on the Dixie Highway from the former Kmart parking lot in Elsmere to the Elsmere Police Department. The crowd went through the 80-degree weather as protests continued in the US after black people were killed by police.
“Say his name,” shouted a protester.
“George Floyd,” replied the crowd.
“Say your name,” asked another person.
“Breonna Taylor,” the crowd yelled back.
Those were the two people the crowd honored on Sunday. Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota when a Minneapolis police officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Taylor was a paramedic in Louisville, Kentucky who was shot dead by police after entering her home with an arrest warrant.
Since those deaths, US residents have continued to hold protests against Black Lives Matters. Also on Sunday, about 20 minutes away across the Ohio River, thousands of protesters gathered in Cincinnati in Fountain Square to protest.
Chris Brown from Elsmere organized the rally for the city of Northern Kentucky of 8,642 residents. She mingled with people she knew, instructing where donated medical masks and snacks should go, and advising who people should speak to to put on the vote.
“We are now giving people a voice to speak out against anything they disagree with as it involves police brutality and racial injustice,” Brown said before the group began the walk.
Along the way, protesters said Floyd and Taylor’s name, “no justice, no peace, no racist police,” along with other chants. Volunteers reached out to offer cold water and passers-by honked the horns of their cars.
At Elsmere Police Station, a few speakers discussed racial differences and suggested what the crowd might do next to push for change. Some asked them to vote for a change in policy and procedure. Others said they should keep the conversation going by meeting new people.
“Share your story,” said Catrena Bowman-Thomas, 47, from Erlanger.
Bowman-Thomas added that the rally was the most united she has seen in her life in northern Kentucky. She told protesters they could invite the people they met at the rally to barbecue in their homes to keep the conversation going.
“Northern Kentucky is not immune to racial differences,” said Jerome Bowles, NAACP president of Northern Kentucky, during his speech at the rally.
As the speakers finished speaking, the sun moved closer to the west and people took off their sunglasses and hats. Water bottles were empty.
The Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky transported protesters back to their vehicles. Some decided to go back. They thanked volunteers for water and policemen for escorting them down the sidewalk.
Brown told The Enquirer she wanted to plan more rallies and protests.
“I hope every body goes out and continues to give its voice to it,” said Brown. “We have to keep giving this a voice, we can’t shut up, we can’t sit down, we have to reach the full extent.”
Julia is the Northern Kentucky government reporter on the Report For America program. Anonymous donors are committed to meeting the local donor share of their grant-funded position at The Enquirer. If you would like to support Julia’s work, you can donate to her position as Report For America on this website or email your editor, Carl Weiser, at [email protected] to find out how you can fund their work.
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