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Group Calls On Whites To Support Black Lives Matter

A Louisville group is calling for more white people to push against racial inequity.

The group, Showing Up For Racial Justice, held a rally Monday in front of the Louisville Metro Police Department headquarters.

More than 100 people joined the activists. Many held signs emblazoned with "Black Lives Matter" and "Breaking White Silence," others held photos of people killed by police.

The group stood at the entrance of police headquarters for nearly an hour. They crowded in to the sliver of shade on the sidewalk in attempt to stay out of the heat while chanting and reading the names of people killed by police, as well as the names of the five Dallas police officers killed last week during a Black Lives Matter rally.

A police spokesman called Monday's rally "peaceful," but would not comment further. The uniformed police presence at the rally was minimal, besides two officers positioned on the roof with rifles.

Carla Wallace heads the Louisville chapter of Showing Up For Racial Justice and said the disproportionate amount of African Americans and Hispanics killed by police in recent decades stems from a lack of anger from white people.

"Not enough white people are speaking up to say 'this is about our humanity, too,"' she said. "It's time for those of us that are white to step up."

Brandon McCormack said he's attended other local rallies associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, but this was the first he's joined that was organized specifically by white people.

"That was the main reason I wanted to come out," he said.

McCormack, 37, said it's encouraging to see white people pushing for more racial equity and justice when it comes to police relations.

"We need more of that, so that black folks don't bear the burden of having to be our own advocates," he said.

Ginna Bairby, who is white, said the notion of breaking down racial barriers and creating a more racially just society depends on the ability of white residents to take a stand against racial inequities.

"White silence is complicity and it's why our brothers and sisters keep dying," she said.

Darius Anderson said Monday's rally is the first event he's attended in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. He said seeing the crowd and hearing the chants made him swell with pride.

"It's beautiful," he said.

Anderson, 17, acknowledged tensions are high among police and communities and especially high between police and young African American men, like himself.

He said "it hurts" to see news stories about young African American men and women killed by police. Anderson said he thinks of families torn apart, siblings separated forever.

Yet still, he said he's hopeful better days are on the horizon.

"I can't let the things I see break down my hope," he said.

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.

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