A speech from a former member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), an arrest for wanton endangerment, and a peaceful march marked some moments Friday and Saturday during protests in Bowling Green.
Dozens gathered Saturday evening in the city’s Circus Square Park to march against racial injustice and violence in the wake of the recent killings of three unarmed black individuals.
Bystanders Wednesday captured Minneapolis resident George Floyd’s final moments as he lay handcuffed on his stomach. Video of the incident shows one police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck while three others stand nearby.
Floyd’s death and that of Louisville Emergency Medical Technician Breonna Taylor, who died March 13th while police served a no-knock warrant on her home, have led to mass demonstrations nationwide against deadly police interactions.
Speaking to the crowd in Bowling Green, civil rights activist and Russellville resident Charles Neblett said he’d been working for justice for a long time.
“And the more things seem to change, the more they stay the same. It started off when Emmett Till was murdered. I was 13 years old,” Neblett said.
A third death, Georgia-native Ahmaud Arbery, has also been causing many to question the state of racial progress. Leaked video shows Arbery jogging when two individuals, one of whom was holding a shotgun, confronted him.
The delay between Arbery’s killing and the arrest of suspects in the shooting have stoked concerns about the dangers of simply being black in the United States.
Diondra Anthony is a special education instructor in Bowling Green. She said the death of Taylor, someone she relates to, has kept her up at night.
Anthony attended the march wearing a white t-shirt and facemask that listed traits that describe her, including being college educated, a mother, employed, and having no criminal record. The t-shirt concluded the list by saying “Oh yeah, I’m Black.”
“I just felt like that expression was basically, was what more do I have to do?” Anthony asked, wondering what it would take to keep her and others out of the situations Floyd, Taylor and Arbery faced.
Meanwhile, several other individuals attended a protest Friday night that began along Kentucky street.
There, James B. Hunton, 24, was arrested after bumping a demonstrator twice with his vehicle. The victim appeared to not have serious injuries at the time of the incident.
Later in the evening, the Bowling Green Police Department stood nearby as protestors shifted toward Fountain Square Park.
“We’re always concerned about people’s wellness. And to come out and exercise their constitutional rights but to not get injured doing it, or hurt or killed. I mean that’s a big deal, we don’t want anybody getting hurt when they’re out here exercising their rights,” Maj. Matt Edwards said.
While demonstrating near Bowling Green’s Fountain Square Park later Friday evening, Yvonne Williams carried a megaphone with her, imparting three things she believes are important to keep in mind.
“Not all cops are bad, not all black people are criminals and not all white people are criminals,” Williams said.
Another demonstration is scheduled for Sunday night.