Wake-up call: Young Activists march to raise awareness, advocate for victims
By JUSTIN STORY
From the head of the group of about 25 marchers came the call “wake up.” In response, the marchers shouted “B.G.”
Making its way around Fountain Square and through much of downtown Saturday morning, the march for justice and rally for awareness was organized by the newly formed group Young Activists of Bowling Green.
Wearing T-shirts bearing the hashtag #sandrastillspeaks, chanting slogans and carrying signs, the group set out from the parking lot of the Warren County Justice Center. The march’s intent was to raise awareness of a spate of police-involved shootings involving minority victims and other incidents of civilian deaths in custody that have galvanized many across the nation and given rise to a movement revolving around the phrase “black lives matter,” which was chanted and written on signs marchers carried Saturday.
Young Activists co-founder Kristina Gamble said the group coalesced after the death of Sandra Bland, who died in a Texas jail cell last month following an arrest that resulted from a traffic violation.
“What really brought us out was the lack of facts from Sandra Bland’s case and the injustice surrounding her death and arrest,” Gamble said.
Group members said they wanted to encourage others to know their rights when they are stopped by police and to advocate for Bland, and 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot and killed last year by a police officer in Ohio.
“Because they were killed, it’s like they never got to speak, they couldn’t tell their story, they didn’t get their trial,” said Jerone Williams, another Young Activists co-founder. “We want to break down stereotypes and racial profiling … we look at each other as black, white, yellow or red, when we need to look at each other as people.”
During the incident, R. Prophet was shot multiple times with a stun gun and with pepper spray after the car in which he was a passenger stopped at a DUI checkpoint. Police claimed that he posed a danger to himself and others and appeared intoxicated, but R. Prophet has disputed the allegations.
Gamble said that Young Activists will hold more events in the future on additional topics.