A week of protests in Lafayette continued Saturday afternoon as several hundred demonstrators gathered at the Tippecanoe County Courthouse. People came forward to address the crowd from a microphone about protest, police reform, the need to vote -- and holding public officials accountable.
“June 16th, 10 o’clock a.m, I am going to speak with the mayor [Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski]. Come with me,” said Alexcia Plummer to loud cheers. “Come with me to speak with the mayor about their use of force policy. Why are you turning your people on my people?”
Plummer referenced former President Barack Obama’s charge this week to the country’s mayors to examine their police department’s use of force of policy, calling on them to take a public pledge for reform -- a pledge West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis said he’s taken.
“We’re all out here for the same reason,” said Jasmine Harris, one of the Lafayette residents who organized the event. “Even though people go about it a different way, we’re still here for the same reason--we all have something in common.”
Members of Standing Up For Racial Justice, or SURJ, wore fluorescent vests and provided support at the event, working to defuse a more heated exchange and moving through the crowd with water.
“I think that, especially as organizers, this is an incredible moment, because we’re literally working with people that maybe had never in their life considered organizing a protest or showing up to a protest or anything,” said SURJ director Kirsten Gibson.
Gibson also said their sales of Black Lives Matters yard signs had dramatically increased.
“Two years ago, we ordered 100 Black Lives Matters signs, and we could not get rid of them,” Gibson said.
This past week, she said, they’ve gone through 250 signs.
Saturday’s event ended with a plan to return to the courthouse Sunday.