Black Lives Matter

Jessalyn Brown

Jessalyn Brown met Kyra Higgins through theater. 

“I saw her on stage and I was just like, ‘This girl is so good!’ She was just amazing.” 

So when it came time for Brown, 21, to direct a play for her senior project at Kentucky’s Georgetown College, she knew she wanted Higgins, 22, to be in it. 

The play was “Blackademics,” a 2018 piece by Black playwright Idris Goodwin. In it, two Black women, both college professors, visit a new, exclusive restaurant to celebrate one of the women getting tenure. The celebration turns strange, however, when the restaurant’s server makes the women fight to “earn” a table, a chair or a glass of water. 



Andiamo White

A new billboard in a western Kentucky town calls for the termination of a local school district superintendent after an old photo of the school official in blackface resurfaced.

The billboard in Paducah, Kentucky shows a picture of Paducah Public Schools Superintendent Donald Shively in blackface and states “race is not a costume.” The billboard is paid for by a Louisville civil rights organization, All of Us or None, and a group of local parents of students and community members calling for Shively’s termination.

Liam Niemeyer

Holiday light displays are spread out across Bob Noble park in Paducah, Kentucky, lighting up the barren trees at night for the community to drive by. The park has long been a gathering place for the small city, with performances at an amphitheater and swimming during the summer.

Shirley Massie, 76, sits at one the park shelters, proudly wearing a Paducah Tilghman High School football hat — her son was quarterback and wore the number “1”. She points out to the direction where her mother’s house was, saying how the park was nearby in her childhood.

“I never went to Noble Park as a child because I couldn't come over here as a child,” she said. “Jim Crow was really out there during the time that I grew up. But I think my parents protected me from it.”

Some voters in Ohio and Kentucky expressed concern that poll workers were advising them that  “Black Lives Matter” attire was not allowed in polling locations. But according to both state’s laws on the subject, BLM clothing is perfectly fine to wear while casting your ballot. 


The voters shared their concerns using the tipline operated by ProPublica’s Electionland project.  


Political campaign attire isn’t allowed to be worn at the polls in the Ohio Valley. Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia have laws prohibiting people from wearing anything with a candidate’s name, campaign slogan or logo, or political party affiliation. But elections experts say that doesn’t apply to items bearing “Black Lives Matter.” 

Ryland Barton

A group of Black elders affiliated with Black Lives Matter Louisville is calling for more in-person polling places during the November General Election after most Kentucky counties only had one polling place during this year’s primary election.

Rhonda Mathies, a Louisville activist and member of the Voter Engagement Brigade, said that many older Black voters didn’t want to cast ballots by mail and at the same time had trouble accessing the city’s lone polling place at the state fairgrounds.

“We don’t want to see our vote suppressed, and that’s what they’re going to use especially in the Black community. So give us our polls, we need them in our neighborhood,” Mathies said.

Sydney Boles / Ohio Valley ReSource

By now it’s become a familiar scene: Marchers fill the streets with placards proclaiming “Black Lives Matter,” and chants fill the air as the demonstrators recite the names of those lost. 

But there’s something different about some of these protests around the Ohio Valley in the past week. They’re not just happening in the larger cities such as Louisville, Lexington, Columbus and Cincinnati. Smaller college towns such as Athens, Ohio, and Morgantown, West Virginia, have seen marches. Communities in Kentucky farmland and the heart of Appalachian coal country, such as Hazard and Harlan, Kentucky, have seen people protesting against racial injustice and police violence. 

Becca Schimmel

A crowd gathered in Bowling Green Friday to rally for racial equality and police accountability. The march was organized by the BG Freedom Walkers, a new community organization that has only existed for about a week. It was started by a group of friends and like-minded people who wanted to do something in response to George Floyd and Breonna Taylor being killed by police. 

Floyd died in Minneapolis after a police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. Breonna Taylor was shot several times by Louisville Metro Police Officers who executed a no-knock warrant on her home. 

Hundreds of people came to the protest with homemade signs and marched from Circus Square Park to the Warren County Justice Center. 

Becca Schimmel

Protests against racism and police violence directed at minorities continued for a fourth striaght day Monday morning in Bowling Green.

Posts spread across social media and text message drew dozens of people outside the Warren County Justice Center to hold signs, march, and hear speakers discuss the civil unrest seen in much of the country.

Derik Overstreet is a local mixed martial arts fighter who agreed to help oragnize and co-lead the mostly college-aged crowd in its peaceful gathering.

Becca Schimmel

More than 100 people gathered and marched in downtown Bowling Green Monday, to protest police brutality and racial inequality. It marks the fourth day of protests, organized by different groups and individuals. 

Protestors walked from the Warren County Justice Center to city police headquarters, where the speeches and chants focused on police brutality. Marchers displayed 'Black Lives Matter' signs, although the event was not organized by that group. Other displays had the names of black people who have died in police custody. 

Throughout the marching, protestors remained peaceful, and there was no police presence during the event. 

Becca Schimmel

Nearly 200 people gathered in downtown Bowling Green Saturday to march from Circus Square Park to the Warren County Justice Center.  

There were signs in memory of Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed in her home after the Louisville Metro Police Department carried out a no-knock warrant. 


Bowling Green protestors also had signs in support of Black Lives Matter and spoke about the importance of voting.

Ryland Barton

There was no need for Democrat Adam Edelen to share the spotlight at the Black Votes Matter forum in Louisville Thursday because none of the other major candidates for governor showed up.

The event was hosted by Simmons College, a historically black college, and questions focused on how to promote wealth and resources in black communities, reform the criminal justice system and improve public education.

Creative Commons

The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights has requested an investigation of the Providence Police Department in Webster County.

The Courier Journal reports the human rights commission has received complaints from residents about racial profiling and harassment by police.

One concern of the commission is that Providence Mayor Eddie Gooch allegedly told someone wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt that the organization is “racist.” The incident occurred at a city council meeting. The mayor reportedly told the person wearing the shirt not to wear it again in council chambers and that, “All lives matter.”

Some residents reported their concerns about harassment to the Providence City Council last month.

The state human rights commission has asked the U.S. Department of Justice for the Western District of Kentucky to investigate.