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Midday Protests Continue to Draw Crowds Outside Warren Co. Justice Center

A midday protest against racism and police drew a crowd of around 180 people Wednesday morning in Bowling Green.

It was the latest in what has now been six straight days of peaceful gatherings in the city following last week's death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd, a black man who died after an officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The video-taped incident, along with the police-related death of Louisville Emergency Medical Technician Breonna Taylor, and the shooting of Georgia jogger Ahmaud Arbery, have spurred protests nationwide.

Western Kentucky University Student Joana Sosa was among the many holding up signs outside the Warren County Justice Center Wednesday. Her sign read "LATINX FOR BLACK LIVES."

"I want to speak for the Afro-Latinos out there that have always been victims of micro-aggression," Sosa said, "I think that, right now, it's their turn to rest. It's our turn to stand up and do what we should have been doing for centuries."

Dania Khan stood nearby, wearing a mask and vinyl gloves. She carried a sign that read "MUSLIMS FOR BLACK LIVES," and said this was her first time making it out to a protest.

"I do have sombeody at home that...I have to keep her safe from coronavirus. But, I thought it was really important for me to come today at least. I will be quarantining myself after this, but it was important," Khan said.

Khan later took the megaphone and spoke on the importance of all groups supporting the cause of equal justice after the crowd marched from the Warren County Justice Center to Fountain Square Park, lining up on both sides of College St.

Meanwhile, Annelise Richards was among the several white attendees of Wednesday's rally. She said people need to be aware of their own internal biases.

"Something particularly with white people protesting, and white people being more socially active with this specific issue, is I feel like white people need to recognize when they do and don't have internalized racism. Just like subtle, subtle things they don't even realize they're doing," Richards said.

Bowling Green resident Gary Poindexter, who came with his girlfriend, did not miss out on the fact that the crowd was mostly white.

"Easily, easily 75% caucasion people, and that's amazing to see with everything that's going on. That they're taking the time to show up for us, show up for our color of people, Poindexter said. "I'm almost disappointed that there isn't more black people here. But I'm glad that I took the time out of my day to come. I was almost hesitant."

Law enforcement also joined the crowd after protesters chanted, "Walk with us," outside of the Bowling Green police station. Sgt. Jared Merriss was among the officers who helped direct traffic as demonstrators stood on the corner of 13th St. and College St.

In the final moments of the gathering, individuals began kneeling in a circle around him.

"I felt like they were welcoming. That's how I felt because this crowd has been great this last several days," Merris said.

He said walking with protestors has been the highlight of his week.

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