About 100 people gathered in New Carlisle on Saturday afternoon to protest against racial injustices in the country as well as advocate for racial equality and to combat racism.
Some were there in solidarity with the “Black Lives Matter” movement, and many held signs as well as participated in chants.
Protesters met at Smith Park at about 1 p.m. before embarking on a march through downtown New Carlisle. They returned to the park at about 2:30 p.m. and most left the area shortly after.
Those who participated were asked by organizers to stay on sidewalks and not to engage in arguments with those who may not support parts of their message or the demonstration all together.
“We are not arguing with anyone. These things come slowly and they come in big groups like us. We will not achieve anything today arguing with one single person. Stay moving,” said Katalina Remusat of Springfield.
She along with Heather Kellough of New Carlisle helped organize the event and led the march Saturday afternoon.
One of its original organizers, Mike Walters, previously told the News-Sun that he decided to organize the protest because of concerns some had over social media posts shared by Councilman Dale Grimm as well as an email sent by Grimm that criticized the “Black Lives Matter” organization. Walters added that he was also inspired by other communities’ peaceful protests.
In a post on Facebook on Thursday, Remusat said the march is meant to start an ongoing conversation as well as talk about injustices experienced in the country.
She said in the post that “New Carlisle does has its own history with racism and I have had my own experience. But that is why these marches take place. To create awareness, to build a presence and to make a footprint that will start really important conversations.”
“We were never intending on coming into a community with demands or anything of the sort,” she added.
The march on Saturday follows a wave of protests that have occurred across the country calling for action against police brutality and systemic racism as well as advocating for racial equality in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
Floyd was killed while in Minneapolis police custody on May 25 with one officer kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes. His death has sparked a wave of protests across the nation and around the world, with violence at some of them.
The march in New Carlisle remained peaceful throughout its course. Members of local law enforcement rode alongside the protesters and were tasked with providing safety and security. Some protesters initially had safety concerns due to comments, some threatening, made on social media in the days preceding the march.
Organizers of the march said that they were doing everything in their power to make sure it remained peaceful. They said they were also working with city officials as well as members of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.
Randy Bridge, the New Carlisle City Manager, walked alongside Remusat during the march.
New Carlisle officials issued a curfew for Saturday night beginning at 6 p.m. and lasting until 6 a.m. on Sunday. It was in preparation for the protest and prohibits loitering, congregating or engaging in conduct that would not be considered a “day-to-day” activity.
The curfew does not apply to city officials, members of the public safety force, emergency personnel, health care workers, essential workers, credentialed members of the media, those experiencing homelessness and local government officials engaging in lawful duties
The response to protesters on Saturday varied. Some residents passed out water, gave out free food and waved at those who were participating. Some motorists decorated their cars with messages showing support as well as honked their horns.
Cullin Myers, who passed out free hot dogs and water, said he wanted to give love and support peace.
“I think it is the right thing to do. To support communities. Support everybody. Give love,” he said.
Others questioned the purpose of the march or retorted with calls of “All Lives Matter.” Some yelled at protesters from their cars while driving by.
Remusat said she was happy with the turnout and believes that the march has already started a dialogue in the community centered around racial injustice and hopes for those conversations to continue.
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