School bus drivers in Bullitt County aren’t asking for everything – just fairness Wednesday, Sep 29 2021 

School bus drivers plan to keep voicing their concerns in hopes of change.


‘We still care’ | Louisville activists mark 1 year since protests started over police shooting of Breonna Taylor Friday, May 28 2021 

"I wouldn't be out here if I wasn't hopeful," Breonna Taylor's aunt Bianca Austin said. "I'm determined is what I am so we're going to get justice for Breonna."


How Breonna Taylor protests could impact Louisville’s mayoral race Wednesday, May 26 2021 

This Friday will mark one year since the beginning of a movement that fueled some Louisville activists to take their protest to politics.


Activists reflect on George Floyd’s lasting impact on Louisville Tuesday, May 25 2021 

Days after Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis one year ago, protesters took to the streets of Louisville calling on justice for Breonna Taylor.


‘We need to do more listening than talking’: Churchill Downs, partners launch Derby Equity Initiative Friday, Apr 23 2021 

Churchill Downs, Kentucky Derby Festival and Humana have a new equity initiative to create programs and events that make everyone feel included.


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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U of L has double standards when it comes to protests Thursday, Sep 3 2020 

By Zachary Baker–

This year has been a chaotic year for many of us, but especially so for the African American community. With the many killings of unarmed people by the police, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has been in the national spotlight. Louisville has seen months of protests demanding justice for the killing of Louisville resident Breonna Taylor by the Louisville Metro Police Department. 

One of the protests, held right by Cardinal Stadium on Aug. 25, had an interesting response from the U of L administration which seemed almost hypocritical to their statements of support for the movement. 

When the group of protesters formed sometime after 3 p.m., several emails went out through the university’s RAVE system—normally used to alert students to robberies or other dangers on campus. 

The university sent the emails to alert students to the protests forming. They recommended students and faculty avoid the area. 

“University leadership has been monitoring the news surrounding potential upcoming protests in our city, including a planned demonstration today at 2 p.m.,” President Bendapudi wrote in an email to students Aug. 25.

The emails that followed were to ensure that students were aware of law enforcement presence in the area and that arrests were made—though the protest remained peaceful. The emails came in one after another so that students were frequently updated. There were a total of 4 emails. 

While this may not seem like too much of an issue, it is a strange position to take. They’re telling students to “avoid the area” of a protest against police violence while also defending the position of the protestors. 

But let’s compare this protest to the primarily-white gun march on campus in 2017. The gun march saw students carrying semi-automatic rifles around campus in the wake of several mass shootings across the campus and even the deaths of students around campus from gun violence. 

The university’s approach was to keep young children inside. But they did not warn the campus of any dangers around the event despite the involvement of weapons.

In fact, the campus did not limit the protests too much. Matthew Glowicki, a writer for The Courier-Journal, wrote that people drove by honking or showing support for the march.

Shelby Brown, former Louisville Cardinal Editor-in-Chief said that students were concerned by the march, with several people believing the march was to intimidate students on campus and to show a sense of dominance with the weapons. 

Despite the gun march’s involvement of active weapons and close proximity to campus, it was treated similarly to how we allow religious groups on campus to operate. Compare that reaction to how the university treated the BLM protest by Cardinal Stadium. The university treated it as if it was a danger to students and required immediate police intervention. 

We can’t be sure that this difference is due to the racial differences or the change in the administration since then. But the difference between the public language of the university when promoting racial justice and their language when alerting students to racial protests on campus is concerning.

We can hope that the university considers how the differences in their language affects how the student body trusts them and their actions.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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On Last Day Of BreonnaCon, Protesters Look For ‘Good Trouble’ Tuesday, Aug 25 2020 


The final day of “BreonnaCon” culminated in the arrests of 64 protesters calling for justice for Breonna Taylor during a sit-in on an overpass near Churchill Downs on Tuesday. 

The national civil rights group Until Freedom organized the day’s action and the events leading up to it to raise awareness about Taylor’s death. Louisville Metro Police Department officers shot and killed Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician, in March while serving a “no-knock warrant.” 

Protest organizers hinted they would march on LMPD’s training academy in South Louisville ahead of Tuesday’s march, but changed course mid-protest and marched to Churchill Downs before continuing on to an overpass across from Cardinal Stadium.


U of L responds to protest concerns Tuesday, Aug 25 2020 

By Eli Hughes — 

University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi and Provost Beth Boehm sent an email to the U of L community Aug 25 responding to concerns over protests that could potentially interfere with campus operations.

The protests are in response to the killing of Breonna Taylor by police officers in March and have been organized by Until Freedom, a social justice organization based out of New York.

The protesters plan to march from South Central Park to the Louisville Metro Police Training Academy from 2-5:00 pm. This path has the possibility of intersecting with roads near U of L’s main campus.

“University leadership has been monitoring the news surrounding potential upcoming protests in our city, including a planned demonstration today at 2 p.m. near Taylor Boulevard which may cause traffic concerns for some near Belknap Campus,” the pair said in the email.

“We’ve been in close touch with local officials and, based on the information we have at this time, U of L operations will continue as normal unless individuals have received other instructions from their dean or supervisor. ”

All businesses in the Student Activities Center closed at 11:00 a.m. due to protest concerns.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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Louisville Protests Bring New Attention To Racial Trauma Monday, Aug 24 2020 

J.J. Hayden says this is the worst summer of his life. 

He’s wearing a “Black Lives Matter” T-shirt with the painted faces of Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and many more Black victims of police brutality that he’s spent this summer protesting for.

J.J. is 13. He’s already tired.

J.J. has learned that even children like him are no exception to police brutality, and the stories of Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice serve as a scary reality for him. He knows he cannot play with toy guns, or wear a hoodie. The story of Breonna Taylor’s death here in Louisville makes him worry that his sister could get shot in the privacy of their own home.

“Someone in my family could be that person, or I could be that person,” J.J. said. 

Jess Clark

Thirteen-year-old J.J. Hayden leads a kids’ march for racial justice.

Earlier this summer, J.J. hosted his own children’s march in response to seeing his mother and other adults having their own protests. He told his mom that children his age were upset too, and have their own fears.

“I’m scared to walk home,” he said. “It’s a good thing that my bus stop isn’t too far from my house.”

Like many children in Louisville this summer, J.J. has seen his hometown on the national news and the National Guard patrolling the streets. He’s also grieving the recent loss of his father and dealing with the effects of COVID-19. But the racial injustices exposed this summer alone would have been traumatizing enough. 

He’s experiencing what Dr. Steven Kniffley calls racial, or race-based, trauma: the direct, perceived, or exposure to a threat of danger that is solely tied to a person’s racial background and their experiences with discrimination and microaggressions. 

It’s a term that’s getting more attention after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor; Kniffley, an associate director for Spalding University’s Center for Behavioral Health, hosted a town hall along with Mayor Greg Fischer to discuss it earlier this month. He says that racial trauma is a public health issue throughout the nation, and should be treated that way.

“The ways in which racial trauma manifests in terms of your psychological, physical [and] emotional symptoms is no different than how traditional PTSD shows up,” said Kniffley. “One can experience trauma for a variety of different reasons, but only persons of color can experience trauma based on their racial background.” 

The state’s minority health status report in 2017 found that, when Kentuckians were asked to self-report the number of days in the past month in which their mental health was not good, Hispanic and Black residents reported the highest rates, respectively.

The effects start early: Kniffley says that as early as age 3, children of color begin to understand they’re different. A year or two later, they begin to assign value to their race. And soon after that, Kniffley says, children of color have already started to internalize racism. By school age, children of color likely have mostly white teachers — and more opportunities for race-based trauma emerge.

“There’s a box that we have to fit into, and if you don’t fit into that box then there is something wrong with you and you are policed based on that,” said Kniffley. “If we think about Black males, we are taught that we must be dumb, deviant and dangerous individuals. So if I’m in the classroom and I happen to excel academically, I have to hide that from my peers, because being seen as smart is something that’s considered white people do.”

Kniffley says that these conflicting images often lead children to question if their Blackness is “all good or all bad.”

“There’s this thread of internalized racism where they have to think about, are these [victims of police violence] really that bad? Do they deserve to be killed? And if so, what does that mean for me? Does that mean that I’m also a bad person?”

J. Tyler Franklin

J.J. Hayden and his family speak to a WFPL reporter.

J.J.’s mother, Katrice Gills, would have liked to shield her son from the video of George Floyd pinned under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer. 

Gills was unaware that his friends already shared it with him. 

“I would never ever have allowed him to watch that if I had known because that is traumatizing,” said Gills. 

But as a 13-year-old who is active on social media apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, it is hard to constantly monitor what J.J. sees.

And Gills knows the media he consumes can be very harmful for children’s understanding. 

“When I was coming up, we thought of the police and firefighters as heroes,” Gills said. “They were supposed to protect us, and for my son to be 13 and that’s his biggest fear, that’s a problem to me.” 

Gills has also brought J.J.’s younger brother to the caravan protests. J.J. says that he knows his 3-year-old brother is starting to understand his Blackness despite his young age, and he’s picking up more than they thought.

“I’m pretty sure he knows about police brutality. One time we were actually at the protests and he said, ‘I can’t breathe’ once… my mind is just like, oh my god, you know? …he knows what that means. Even though he’s 3, he’s very much awake.”

A Generational Conversation

The current events have forced Michelle Randolph, a Louisville mother to 5 and 6 year-old Black daughters, to figure out a way to tell them a version of the truth they can understand.

“The biggest thing is not doing harm, right?” she said. “Not doing harm to yourself and not doing harm to your kids. But how do you do that? I think you have to be honest, and so that’s what we did.” 

She told the girls about Breonna Taylor, and that she was killed by the police.

Needing to have these conversations is very disheartening, she said. 

“You’re having to have this conversation generation after generation, after generation. And I think that’s when the hopelessness starts to creep in,” said Randolph. “I’ve heard it in the voice of my parents and now here I am having this with my children. When do I get to stop having these conversations?”

Randolph, a performing arts teacher at Mill Creek Leadership Academy, says that while these times have been overwhelming, she is trying to practice having patience for herself and her children. Like Gills, she says that she tried to take breaks when she recognizes that she needs them.

By having more patience within herself and her kids, Randolph said she has learned one simple thing. 

“I think the biggest thing is still just letting them be kids.”

University of Massachusetts Medical School psychologist and executive director of the Child Trauma Training Center, Dr. Jessica Griffin, says that while children may not fully comprehend events like Taylor’s death, they understand right versus wrong and fairness.

“We teach our kids to use your words when you’re upset about something or use your words to express when things aren’t fair. That’s kind of like what we’re doing with protest,” Griffin said. “But sometimes people aren’t listening… and kids are aware of that.”

Kids learn from watching adults, Griffin said. One way to help them is to help yourself.

“You’ll hear a lot now, about the importance of self-care, for parents, for teachers, for all of us. And we don’t mean that to sound cliche but it is really important that we’re putting our own oxygen mask on first, as parents, before assisting our children,” said Griffin. 

Griffin says that children can experience direct and second-hand trauma from their caregivers — as early as in the womb.

“If their primary attachment figure, a person that they rely on to meet their needs, is impaired with in some way or is being mistreated themselves, that also affects that child,” said Griffin. 

Unavoidable, But Treatable

Kniffley says that for people of color, racial trauma is unavoidable. Racial trauma is “the water that we are all swimming in,” said Kniffley.

”Because we are not the perpetrators, nor the builders, of systems of racism, it requires a collaborative effort to dismantle these systems,” he said. “It’s hard to tear down a house that you haven’t built in a neighborhood that you are forced to live in.”

But Kniffley recommends three things that can help alleviate that burden: children need performative spaces to express their Blackness, safe places to have conversations about their emotions, and to be taught how to navigate experiences of racism and discrimination.

J.J.’s mother is already using some of these strategies; J.J. says he’s grateful that mental health care and conversations are welcomed in his house.

“My mom, she talks about everything.. We have the longest conversations… most of them end with us in tears. Our conversations really bring us together more than anything.”

But for many Black families, resources such as therapy or counseling may not be accessible nor culturally acceptable. Kniffley says that throughout American history, medical professionals — including psychologists — have exploited communities of color and added to this distrust. Because of this, skepticism about mental health care in communities of color continues.  

Within his own neighborhood, J.J. says he knows that some families don’t practice mental health care like his does.

“I wish I could have conversations with kids who are not as ‘woke,’” he said. “As soon as the pandemic is over, I would love to talk to kids who don’t really know about it; I would love to become a mentor.” 

Even though J.J.’s mom sometimes worries how her children will digest the events of the world, she believes that honesty is the best way to address things.

“I know that we want to shield them and withhold information for their good. But you’re not,” said Gills. “We have got to get to that place where we can be communicative with our kids because the kids they’re paying attention, they’re listening, and they’re taking it in.”

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