Protesters rally downtown against hate | Police/Fire | #schoolshooting

Since the Black Lives Matter protests last spring, Kristy Samra has been listening to podcasts on white supremacy and racism. 

Friday, she decided to join a small demonstration against white supremacy at the Allen County Courthouse and invited a friend, Nico Schafer. Both held signs to show support, Samra said. 

The protest organized by Kimberly Michaelsen representing the Facebook group Women United for Progress Allen County, or WUFPAC, started as a demonstration against Asian hate and morphed into “Stop White Terrorism.” 

Traffic was heavy on Clinton Street when the demonstration began and the group received many honks as well as one person driving a black pickup truck who created a black fog as he spun his wheels in front of the demonstrators. Michaelsen noted in a Facebook post that someone threw a Slurpee at them, too. 

Roxana Murray of WUFPAC and United Auto Workers held up two signs: “Asian Lives Matter, Stop Hate, End Racism and another with “Change Starts Here” with a heart. 

Murray, who lives in Roanoke and was active in the spring protests here, said she had always wanted to get involved and her union helped her. 

“They empowered me to do this,” Murray said. She stood in solidarity with Andrea Mendez who regularly shows up for courthouse protests.

On her sign, she wrote the names of the people who died in last week’s mass shooting in the Atlanta area. Six of the eight victims were Asian and worked at massage parlors. 

“I have a bad day, but I’m not going to go out and kill eight people,” Mendez said, referring to a comment by a Georgia law enforcement officer who appeared to imply that the shooter killed his victims because he was having a bad day. 

La’Kendra Deitche was outraged by the comment as well. “Because he had a bad day, I’m supposed to die?” she asked. “White supremacy is not OK. You’re defending it, encouraging it, enabling it.” 

While she understood the rally to be against Asian hate, she came to stand with the mostly white protesters. 

“They stood with us during Black Lives Matter,” Deitche said, referring to the spring and summer protests in Fort Wayne. 

Tara Scheumann said she took the step to join protests downtown in an effort to “get out and help.” 

As a middle school teacher working with low-income students, she has “seen firsthand the disparities” that include poverty and broken homes. 

Samra said there’d been oppression in her own life and “realized other people want to get away from it, too.”

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