Hundreds Join Indy Black Lives Matter Protest

Jul 11, 2016

Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement rally July 9, 2016 in Indianapolis to protest police shootings of black men in the U.S.
Credit Michelle Johnson

Organizers of a Black Lives Matter protest on Saturday in Indianapolis called on white allies to stand with them in the fight for justice and police reforms.

The protest at the Statehouse was one of dozens around the nation after a week that included police killings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana, and a sniper attack that killed five white officers at a Black Lives Matter march in Dallas, Texas.

Since it began three years ago, after the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin three years ago, white people have joined the movement in increasing numbers.

Indianapolis organizer Dominic Dorsey says white supporters are needed now more than ever. “There’s no shame in saying ‘black lives matter'," he says. 

Ben Blevins was among those at Saturday’s protest outside the Statehouse.

“The least that I can do is show up and be here,” Blevins says. “There is a massive sense of urgency, which is something that is sometimes difficult for me to internalize, so I have the luxury of saying it takes time, when every bit of time that goes by, someone is dying.”

A database compiled by The Guardian newspaper counted a police-involved killing every single day last week.  So far this year, police have shot and killed 571 people, Dorsey says.

“Each day this week, we've had examples of somebody who lost their life needlessly, senselessly,” Dorsey says. “Instances that could easily have been deescalated by a conversation, instances where individuals were already disarmed, and at some moment they decided their life wasn't worth handcuffs and due process.”

Black Lives Matter organizer Rekia Boid says she condemns the sniper attack in Dallas. But, she says, the group isn’t backing down from its demands for police reforms and justice for victims of police brutality.

“We need police officers,” she says. “However, it’s not something that we don’t experience every single day of our lives.”