Protestors rally at Grawemeyer Hall against COVID-19 policy Friday, Jan 21 2022 

By Joe Wilson — 

On Jan. 20, a group of protesters gathered outside Grawemeyer Hall to denounce U of L’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and demand changes in the school’s policy.

The demonstration, called “Speak Out for Health and Safety at the University of Louisville,” was planned by the United Campus Workers of Kentucky, a group of campus workers from across the state. Among their demands is that instructors and employees be provided the flexibility to move their courses and work online and to offer hazard pay to frontline staff.

The organization’s criticism of the administration comes after U of L Interim President Lori Gonzalez announced the university’s course delivery policy, which stipulates that in-person courses cannot be conducted virtually. The only exception includes faculty who need to isolate due to COVID-19 infection or exposure. The university defends the policy, citing the 91% vaccination rate among students, staff and faculty.

However, U of L’s response has come under scrutiny amid the latest surge of COVID-19 cases from the highly-transmissible Omicron variant. With COVID-19 infections at record highs, the UCW has demanded that the university provide more flexibility to students and faculty who may want to attend classes virtually due to health concerns.

The protest came following repeated efforts by the UCW to persuade the university to change its policy. Last week, the group circulated a petition titled ‘Keep all Cardinals Safe!’ that has garnered over 1,700 signatures.

As students, faculty and staff joined the UCW on the steps of Grawemeyer Hall, several speakers questioned whether it was equitable to compel students and faculty to attend in-person classes amid the many hardships of the pandemic.

The protest gathered attention from Democrat Representative Attica Scott, who represents House District 41 in the Kentucky General Assembly. Scott provided a written statement which was read aloud by her daughter, U of L student Ashanti Scott:

“I am the mom of a University of Louisville student. My daughter deserves better than to try to pursue her education in fear. Her campus should be a place that prioritizes the health and safety of everyone. I stand with the United Campus Workers as they call on President Gonzalez to take COVID-19 and the Omicron variant seriously.”

Later in the afternoon, protestors went inside Grawemeyer Hall to express their demands to Gonzalez during a meeting with the Board of Trustees. When the protesters entered the meeting room, many noticed that some members of the board were attending the meeting virtually. “They get to be online, and we can’t,” one protester noted.

Nathan Schimpf, a graduate assistant speaking on behalf of the protesters, expressed the group’s grievances to the board of trustees. “We submitted our petition to President Gonzalez last Wednesday, January 12. Since then there has been no acknowledgement of the concerns and demands of the 1,700 university community members who have signed it, no acknowledgement of the university working toward these points and no acknowledgement that students and workers deserve their basic need of safety met at this time,” he said.

In response, Gonzalez said that while the university does not take this issue lightly, the protesters’ demands were “inconsistent” with the data she’s seen regarding COVID-19.

The meeting with the board of trustees proceeded, and the protesters were dismissed from Grawemeyer Hall about five minutes into the meeting.

Photo by Anthony Riley // The Louisville Cardinal

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Ashanti Scott speaks about her arrest and Breonna Taylor’s death Friday, Oct 9 2020 

 By Tate Luckey —

3 counts of “wanton endangerment” were the only charges filed in the case of Breonna Taylor’s death that occurred earlier this year on March 13. When a Kentucky grand jury and Attorney General Daniel Cameron confirmed on Sept. 23 that those were in fact the only charges for officer Brett Hankison, a reasonably upset city took to the streets to protest for justice.

The city countered by reimplementing a 9 p.m. curfew from Sept. 24 to Sept. 26, with those not abiding the curfew being taken into police custody. 

Among those arrested on Sept. 24 were University of Louisville McConnell scholar and sophomore Ashanti Scott and her mother, state representative Attica Scott. They were held until Friday morning, along with local activist Shameka Parrish-Wright. 

“We had been driving by one of the marches that happened, and then LMPD cut us off. We got out of the car because we thought we’d be arrested for still being in our car during curfew. We had walked to this church that Rep. Lisa Willner was a part of because they held sanctuary there,” Ashanti Scott said, speaking about the First Unitarian Church, which offered protesters sanctuary that night.

“We were walking towards the front of the library, along Broadway, but to try and avoid confrontation with the police we turned and tried to go around the church. When we came to the back police yelled ‘Surround them! Get on the ground!’ and we were detained.”

According to both her account and Rep. Scott’s Instagram Live footage, they were then held down with zip ties around their hands. 

“One of the others we were detained with asked the officer if they were going to read us our rights. They said no, and so I was never read our charges,” Scott said. “I didn’t even know our charges until later on while in jail. When we finally did know, even the officer that showed Ms. Shameka her charges said ‘this was crazy,’” she said.

Unable to see their bond, they were eventually released at 8:30 a.m. the next day. Their release papers showed that they had a riot 1 felony, unlawful assembly misdemeanor, and failure to disperse misdemeanor.

After Attorney Mike O’Connell and Thomas Wise initially refused to drop said charges, the Scott’s started a #dropthecharges campaign that gathered moderate interest on platforms like Twitter from various U of L groups and local officials/activists.

“I don’t think they’re necessarily being indifferent. I think it’s a strategy by LMPD. My mom has introduced Breonna’s Law (an ordinance banning no-knock warrants unless in the situation of child endangerment), and I think it’s just a way to silence her,” Scott explained.

Scott said she wasn’t surprised by the decision of the Taylor case.

“I feel like just charging him with wanton endangerment, for shooting into the apartments, it was crazy to me that that happened,” she said. “[Hankison] spent less time in jail than what I did. I think the Breonna Taylor case is the most corrupt case we’re seeing involving the murder of an innocent black woman and someone actively trying to cover it up.”

Scott, who went to middle school with Taylor’s sister, explained that she thinks the severity of this case, in particular, is likely caused by Mayor Fischer’s gentrification plan for Taylor’s neighborhood and was compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic/support of healthcare heroes. She initially only found out about Taylor’s death from her family’s social media. 

As of Oct. 6, the charges against the Scott’s and Parrish-Wright were dropped by O’Connell due to a “lack of evidence.” And while Ashanti was disappointed by the university’s response to the Breonna Taylor case and the Black Lives Matter movement beyond a few emails, she did have some sage advice for those getting involved.

“This movement involves a lot of young kids who are angry, and justifiably so. We just have to be able to work with them. If you can’t protest, the Kentucky Alliance Against Political Oppression is a great organization to donate to, as well as the Louisville chapter of the Bail Project. There’s also a lot of petitions still circulating.”

Photos Courtesy of Ashanti Scott 

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Despite the grand jury’s ruling, this is far from over Thursday, Oct 8 2020 

By Catherine Brown-

A grand jury convened to determine whether LMPD officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove would be under indictment for the murder of Breonna Taylor. On Sept. 23, the jury charged only one officer, Hankison, with three counts of wanton endangerment.

This means that the officer is accused of endangering Taylor’s neighbors when he shot into the surrounding apartment walls. No officer was charged for killing Taylor, an innocent black woman who was asleep in her bedroom.

The protests following her death have made an impact on some policy. Since protests have started, we’ve seen progress in getting justice for Breonna Taylor and for the Black community of Louisville.

Sadiqa Reynolds, president and CEO of the Louisville Urban League, tweeted a list of impacts that protests have made in Louisville.

In this list, she includes the exiting of former Police Chief Robert Schroeder, who was replaced by interim Police Chief Yvette Gentry. Gentry is the first black female police chief for the LMPD, a point which Reynolds notes in her list.

“I know some want total defunding but whatever exists in this country should include us,” Reynolds said.

She also lists that LMPD is receiving a top to bottom review, and body cameras are now mandatory for search warrants.

Additionally, social programs are being implemented for the west end. These programs will build 100 homes in the west end for Black homeowners. Reynolds says corporations are even donating gifts to support rebuilding in the area. Social workers are also becoming involved in family resettlement.

These are just a few of the progressions made for the local community.

Kentucky State Representative Attica Scott and her daughter Ashanti, a political science major at U of L, were arrested after demonstrating in a Breonna Taylor protest on Sept. 24. Scott recently introduced “Breonna’s Law,” which seeks to ban no-knock warrants in Kentucky.

The two were participating in the protest and were seeking sanctuary at the First Unitarian Church, a church in downtown Louisville that was open after curfew. Houses of worship were exempt from the curfew policy.

Scott said she was arrested at 8:58 p.m., curfew started at 9 p.m.

“There was never a need for no-knock search warrants like the one used in Breonna’s case, and while this type of warrant is now banned here in Metro Louisville and appears to have little use elsewhere, I want to make sure statewide law keeps it from ever coming back. In addition, I want to make sure a judge specifically approves any use of violent entry when a warrant is carried out, and I want all law enforcement officers to have to wear body cameras and be required to use them when serving any warrant.”

In the law, she states videos would have to be made available when complaints are filed. Those that violate these requirements will face suspension or even termination. She always wants law enforcement officers to undergo a drug and alcohol screening after a deadly incident or firing a weapon while on duty.

We have quite a long way to go until justice is ever met though. Hankison was only in jail for a little more than half an hour. Due to the double jeopardy defense, he will not be brought back to trial for re-sentencing on the same charge as before. But the public understands that the murder of a black woman not only in Louisville, but anywhere in the world, will not be tolerated nor will we forget the crime.

Breonna deserves justice. Don’t stop saying her name and continue fighting.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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Rep. Attica Scott: Protesters Targeted For Arrest As Political Retaliation Wednesday, Sep 30 2020 


Anticipating the “potential for civil unrest,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer barricaded downtown, amped up law enforcement and implemented a dusk to dawn curfew ahead of a big announcement in the Breonna Taylor investigation.

In the days that followed, police arrested more than 200 protesters, including the state’s only Black female legislator, Rep. Attica Scott; her 19-year-old daughter, Ashanti Scott; and organizer Shameka Parrish-Wright with the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.

The curfew ended Monday night, though the increased police presence and traffic restrictions downtown continued through Wednesday. Fischer said the curfew served its purpose to help keep people safe. 


Rep. Attica Scott ‘Offended, Disgusted’ By Felony Rioting Charges Friday, Sep 25 2020 


State Rep. Attica Scott was released from jail Friday morning after being arrested by Louisville police on felony rioting charges Thursday night.

In an arrest citation, police alleged that Scott was part of a large group that “caused extensive damage at multiple locations including setting fire to the Louisville Public Library.”

The same boilerplate language was used in citations for several other people arrested on Thursday night.


State Representative Attica Scott Tests Positive For Coronavirus Sunday, Sep 6 2020 


State Representative Attica Scott announced on Sunday evening that she has tested positive for coronavirus.

In a video shared on her social media, Scott said she was tested last week and got the results on Sunday. She said she will self-quarantine for 14 days, per health department guidelines, then get retested. She didn’t say whether she has experienced any symptoms from the virus.

“I want to thank the health care workers who are testing folks daily, providing contact tracing, just taking care of us,” Scott said. “Health care workers like my daughter Ashanti, who tested negative, thank goodness, for COVID-19.”