Calls for equality: Peaceful protest encourages change

Monday, June 8, 2020
Some protesters stand underneath the Buzz Bomb. More than 70 people participated in the demonstration which took place on the square Saturday.
Banner Graphic/BRAND SELVIA

Calling for an end to police brutality and support of the nationwide Black Lives Matter movement, a large group of community members staged a protest on the lawn of the Putnam County Courthouse late Saturday morning into the early afternoon.

It came on the heels of two small protests which were staged a week before. An altercation occurred during one of them, video of which shows a protester being pinned to the ground.

The protest was organized and promoted by 23-year-old Kayce Kean. In an email to the Banner Graphic, she stated that opening up dialogue about race and bigotry needed to be encouraged, as well as for the community to make a stand against hate speech.

“We as a community need to make it clear that we will actively stand beside the minorities and speak out against hate speech,” Kean wrote. “The ultimate goal of the protest (was) to open the window for the hard conversations people weren’t having.

“The Greencastle narrative has changed dramatically over the years,” she added. “We were once considered a ‘quiet town where nothing happens,’ but every day we see our city changing and becoming more diversified. We as a community need to be open to change, even though it’s scary sometimes.”

With the temperature near 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the protesters kept up the demonstration until approximately 1 p.m. and then convened to discuss how to move forward. Some of them had planned to come, while others joined in on impulse.

In statements to the Banner Graphic, Evan Scott, 26, reflected on his own participation in the protest after it ended. His perspective is unique, in that he said the national response to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, Minn., brought about an internal change.

Evan Scott holds up his sign during the demonstration. He was initially going to a protest in Terre Haute, but was compelled to join after seeing the group.
Banner Graphic/BRAND SELVIA

Scott described anecdotes when he ridiculed or was dismissive of others’ expressions in the gay community and the Black Lives Matter conversation. The events now rocking the political and social landscapes inspired him to reexamine his beliefs and values.

“Something about this new wave of protests made me realize that casually dismissing these people, being a passive bigot, wasn’t making me happy and hurt people who have and continue to hold me up when I need them,” Scott wrote. “I can’t undo my past, but I can learn from it.”

Scott made a sign that said, “I Changed. Why Can’t America?” He said this sums up how Americans should think about the issues of racism and equality, in which everyone must be willing to learn and change their views.

“I’m not saying it’s easy, and I’m not trying to say anything hurtful about our country or anyone in it,” he wrote. “I know that one person can’t change the country. But one person can encourage another to look at themselves and really break down their own paradigm and find the flaws in it.”

Greencastle police vehicles were parked near the square’s west side. However, no officers interfered with the demonstration or otherwise made their presence known. Perhaps this indicates an understanding about the message, even as distrust is fervent across the nation with regard to violent police actions.

A representative from Greencastle’s NAACP chapter shared that the organization has sought to encourage positive dialogue with local police. Indeed, none of the signs held up or slogans which were shouted expressed any anti-police statements.

At one point during the demonstration, a funeral procession passed by the courthouse. Scott said some participants lowered their signs and the chanting was stopped, while those wearing hats took them off out of respect.

“I felt bad for that family, and tried to show what respect I could, but I knew they’d remember that part of the funeral forever,” he said. “I still don’t know how I feel about that, and if that family sees my words I want them to know I mean no offense. Nobody in the group did.”

Scott related that many driving by honked their horns, cheered or gave the thumbs up. He recounted how one African-American man was passing with his young daughter beside him. While stopped at the southwest light, the driver looked at Scott and said “Thank you.”

“I think he started to cry. I know I did,” Scott said. “I still am, and that was eight hours ago. That one moment proved to me that I was doing the right thing.”

Other drivers gave the middle finger, while one motorcyclist repeatedly shouted “All Lives Matter.” Scott also related that one participant was harassed while taking a bathroom break, prompting a discussion about a safety protocol.

A participant stands on the east side of the courthouse. The Greencastle Farmers Market was beginning to wind down as the protest got under way.
Banner Graphic/BRAND SELVIA

“Walking to and from the protest with my sign was the first time I’ve ever felt unsafe in Greencastle,” he wrote, “and that’s something minorities always feel.”

The potential for further encounters like this one has not hindered Scott’s commitment, or the movement’s for that matter, to be active and continue their calls for equality and change.

“They failed to promote hate, and now we’ll promote love even more because of them,” he affirmed. “That was my experience today, and I’ll be back out there.”

More than 70 community members showed out for the protest. Kean wrote that she was “completely overwhelmed” by the turnout, not expecting more than 20 people to come.

“I never thought I would see such high levels of support in such a small community,” she wrote. “It was so nice to see people from all walks of life come together for a singular message.”

Demonstrations will be held every Saturday this month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the courthouse square. It was agreed by the group during their huddle that continuing the protests would inspire more people to become involved and share the message.

“I don’t think that this is a battle that will be won by a few protests,” Kean concluded. “But I hope to use this platform and the momentum to bring together the community, and keep them actively fighting to make Greencastle welcoming and inclusive to everyone who calls it home.”

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  • All Lives Matter. We all bleed the same color. Yes some politicians are racist whom are responsible for the our county. There are people who won't put down the weapons, the children learn from older kids on the violence. We need to get back to spanking to get kids away from doing wrong. The kids over 18 know right from wrong but choose to be bad people. these groups of all colors needs spanked. As for the people wanting equal rights. Well its there they just have to look and treat each other with respect, and they will find it.

    -- Posted by joyo on Tue, Jun 9, 2020, at 2:19 PM
  • Brand,

    Great story, well said, good interviews/ quotes.

    -- Posted by small town fan on Tue, Jun 9, 2020, at 2:41 PM
  • *

    From the Black Lives Matter official press release...

    "We call for a national defunding of police. We demand investment in our communities and the resources to ensure Black people not only survive, but thrive."

    Gov't has been shovelling money since Johnson's Great Society...

    But more money still, and getting rid of LAW ENFORCEMENT, will make it all better?


    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Tue, Jun 9, 2020, at 4:28 PM
  • DPR:

    I truly appreciate your intelligence and writing. I know most don’t because they can’t comprehend. One that conducts their research and speaks on facts. Keep up the good work!!

    -- Posted by Hmmmmm on Tue, Jun 9, 2020, at 8:23 PM
  • *

    After receiving such high praise from hmmmm, DPR immediately heads home to eat Cheetos and watch Roadhouse again.

    -- Posted by RSOTS on Tue, Jun 9, 2020, at 10:16 PM
  • *

    RSOTS - LOL. Are you still here? I thought maybe you would've learned your lesson the last time...guess not.

    If you are going to engage in the conversation, could you please at least TRY to say something relevant and not just make snide personal remarks, which seems to be the only thing you can muster with any efficacy.

    I realize that you may be quite used to preaching to a choir of bobbleheads, living your life in a closed positive feedback loop, and that actual dialogue of opposing ideas is something of a difficulty for you, but you really should try to expand your mind just a little bit.

    I will even help you:

    RSOTS, what do you think about the Black Lives Matter's proposal/idea to defund the police?

    Do you think those that were on the square protesting will still try to play both sides - showing respect for local law enforcement while continuing suppoprt for the BLM movement and it's call for the defunding of those same law enforcement people?

    Hmmmmmm - thank you. I appreciate your kind words. Please ignore RSOTS. He is still a little sore from the last thrashing I gave him on the other story.

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Wed, Jun 10, 2020, at 8:28 AM
  • *

    DPR, I think it's cute that you believe you gave me a "Trashing" on the other story. I also think it's think its rich with irony that you imply that the "actual dialogue of opposing ideas" is difficult for me yet here I am over and over trying to engage in ideas that oppose mine so I can further educate myself. We don't learn from listening to those that we agree with we learn from listening to those that we don't agree with. Maybe if you focused on being open minded like you say instead of "perfecting your preaching" you might be astounded at the knowledge you could gain.

    To answer your question regarding the defunding of the police - I don't believe that defunding the police is the answer at all. I believe that all options need to be looked at as that is where change starts. The first idea is not always the best idea but you have to get the conversation started. I believe that there needs to be major police reform, to demilitarize the police and that they need to get back to the roots of their responsibility to "Serve and Protect". I would love to hear your thoughts on who they were "Serving and Protecting" as they snuffed the life out of George Floyd. Who they were "Serving and Protecting" as they attack protesters so the President can get his picture taken, as they shove a 75 year old man to the ground, as they tase students in their car, and I could go on and on.

    For example I find what Camden, NJ did to be highly interesting and possibly the model for other departments going forward. Here is the link if you're unaware of what I'm referencing.

    As a question for you and the others on your bandwagon. Do you think there is any problem at all? Does racism exist in police forces / training / mentality? Is systemic racism a complete myth?

    Or is the world perfect as is? I see you discredit every article, every action that someone tries to take, every step that the government tries to take, every dollar that the government spends. You are very good at bringing the problems to the table but not the concept of solutions.

    Do you believe none of these things are needed? We're all good?

    Or do you prefer to just keep attacking and downplaying without any options / ideas for making this a better world for us and future generations?

    I'll eagerly await my next "Trashing".

    -- Posted by RSOTS on Wed, Jun 10, 2020, at 9:30 AM
  • *

    Just for giggles, I would like to add a SHOUT OUT to the young lady whose sign says "I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND..."

    No, dear, you obviously will never understand.

    You protest a lie while wearing shoes and branded socks made by a company that pays near-slave wages and uses child labor in China and Vietnam.

    But by all means please keep preaching and signalling to the world how virtuous you are, precious.

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Wed, Jun 10, 2020, at 9:33 AM
  • *

    DPR, To discredit the girl for wearing Nike shoes and socks is ignorant and a new low for you. You're implying because she wears that brand she can't have an opinion? If you truly believe that then you have discredited your own self from every replying or having an opinion on here if you have ever purchased anything Nike, bought an Apple phone or put on your MAGA hat made in China.

    And btw what is the "Lie" that she is protesting?

    -- Posted by RSOTS on Wed, Jun 10, 2020, at 9:47 AM
  • I would think that whether you agree with the message or not, that a group of young people organizing a peaceful demonstration to exercise their 1st ammendment right would be celebrated. We often say that many young people aren't engaged in anything. The comments on hear say a lot about our community, unfortunately.

    -- Posted by rharvey75 on Wed, Jun 10, 2020, at 10:39 AM
  • Am I getting this straight? A group of protesters, who are vehemently against America's history of slavery and oppression toward minorities and want to make sure you are aware of it, elect to hold their protest under one of the most hated symbols of NAZI tyranny and oppression, supposedly erected under the guise of honoring Putnam County's war dead and apparently without any guilt or awareness.

    This same NAZI monument was built by a force of 60,000 slaves, 20,000 of whom were subsequently murdered after living out their usefulness to the NAZIS. The identity of those murdered slaves have been conveniently been left off the info board placed near the buzz Bomb. I know because I just visited this eyesore.

    Maybe I was raised differently, but where I come from, you don't honor anyone or anything with something built on the backs of murdered slaves, and you never stand near it if you want respectability for yourself and your cause from me.

    -- Posted by Prince of Stardust Hills on Wed, Jun 10, 2020, at 1:11 PM
  • *

    RSOTS - I knew you could do it... perhaps you just needed some encouragement.

    I would agree that a demilitarization of the police would be a good idea, as well as systemic reforms in training and community involvement.

    There are a great number of "good cops", but unfortunately they are often silent in regards to the "bad cops". But this isn't a racial thing...its a police thing. A large part of this has to do with the "thin blue line" that is started at the academy where they are taught it is "us (cops) vs them (citizenry)" and continued at the department level with police unions.

    I also believe that they have gone from a model of "policing" to "law enforcement" that is a detriment to society.

    Both of these things can - and should be - improved upon.

    You will not get me to defend the cops that killed George Floyd. I disagree with their tactics and question the need for such. However, I refuse to see it as a race issue. As mentioned before - Tony Timpa had the same thing happen to him in 2016. The main difference (aside from no riots from his death) is that Tony Timpa was a white guy.

    As for the 75 year old man - he got what he was after (making the cops look bad) and got what he deserved, in my opinion. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. Or do you believe that a 75 year old man is incapable of being a danger?

    The Camden situation is smoke & mirrors. They disbanded the Camden city police and had the county pick up the slack, which then doubled the county police force. Its very possible that it was a necessary move. I have heard that the city police department was corrupt. But I don't believe it to be the poster child of true reform.

    To answer your question about systemic racism - yes, it is a myth. I have previously alluded to why. Even if we were to assume that it is real, its not very effective. Too many successful NON-WHITES (not just blacks) in this country for there to be systemic racism. And no, I don't believe that police are trained to act in a racist way. Again, they are trained cop v. civilian. It doesn't matter what color your skin. I betcha that Obama could get out of a ticket faster than I could... b/c if anything, its power and prestige that makes the difference. Just look at all the politicians who didnt feel it necessary to follow their own lock-down orders during the coronavirus theatrics.

    That isn't to say that racism itself doesn't exist. I know it exists. I have seen it...from white people, from black people, from brown people, from Asians. People are people. Some people dislike "others", some don't mind them.

    I frequently offer solutions, when I feel it warranted. In many cases I feel the solution is fairly self-evident: do your job. Whether it is the government (that is supposed to be very limited in scope) or a company or a citizen. It really is that simple.

    But this would explain many things about you, including your own racism (via the soft bigotry of low expectations) that you feel it necessary to make special concessions for blacks in society.

    Do you feel it necessary to have government do this and government do that... b/c you don't expect the individual to be able to do as they should?

    Do you feel it necessary to lower the bar for certain groups of people... b/c you don't expect that they can meet the standard otherwise?

    I, on the other hand, expect EVERYONE regardless of color to do their part in civil society. If you break the rules, you get punished. That's just how it works.

    I don't expect equal outcomes (as you seem to). I expect equal opportunities.

    I grew up learning two very important childrens tales: The Ant & The Grasshopper, and The Little Red Hen. Perhaps you should read them...or read them again.

    As for the girl wearing Nike shoes - if you cannot see the irony and hypocrisy, then you are beyond all sensibility and cannot ever be taken seriously. But maybe you are just that dense and need it explained to you...

    She is welcome to share her opinion all she wants. I didn't begrudge her that at all.

    I criticized her for virtue signalling.

    She is at a BLACK LIVES MATTER rally, saying that she will never understand (their plight/suffering?), but that she will stand with them in solidarity...while wearing shoes and socks made by a company that uses sweatshops and child labor in overseas factories.

    Your reproach of me falls short, as usual, b/c I am not claiming solidarity with one set of "oppressed" people while benefiting from the oppression of another set...nor do I wear Nike (My shoes & boots are USA MADE), I refuse to join the Apple cult, and I don't own a MAGA hat.

    As for the lie - she is pushing the lie that Black Lives Matter, as a slogan and an organization.

    As I said before, if black lives truly mattered the black abortion rate and the black-on-black murder rates wouldn't be so astronomically high.

    RSOTS, you seem to try so hard...or maybe it's just that I want to give you more credit than you deserve.

    I really do feel bad for you.

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Wed, Jun 10, 2020, at 1:21 PM
  • *

    DPR, I was going to make a lengthy response to your comments but after reading your reply over its clear that it is pointless to try and talk logic with someone that doesn't understand the difference between Empathy and Virtue Signaling, and makes the following statement "the lie that Black Lives Matter".

    Please save your sympathy for me and please do not feel bad for me. Maybe redirect that in trying to gain some empathy for others.

    I'm sorry that you will wind up on the wrong side of history with your "Cut and Dry, One Size Fits All" mentality but you will. It appears that you are educated and capable of research. I hope you put that to good use to move past your distorted views.

    Good luck.

    -- Posted by RSOTS on Wed, Jun 10, 2020, at 2:31 PM
  • *

    RSOTS - Before you condemn me to the dustbin of history, you might want to read this...

    (Your empathy only makes things worse...while making YOU feel better.)

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Wed, Jun 10, 2020, at 4:56 PM
  • *

    For those who are curious...

    Black Lives Matter has made the following some of the demands on the city of Seattle:

    Abolish the Seattle Police Department and attached court system...

    Free college...

    "[M]ore black doctors and nurses should be hired by the city at health facilities to specifically help black patients"...

    It ain't about justice. It ain't about equality. And they are just as much about "separate but equal" as any Jim Crow Dixiecrats.

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Wed, Jun 10, 2020, at 5:06 PM
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