It wasn’t just black and white.
It was black, white, latino, Asian, young and old. It was families. It was students.
The demonstrators met at 4:30 p.m. in the parking lot of O’Malia’s at the corner of East Second Street and College Mall Road.
The protest was dubbed “Reclaim MLK,” referring to Martin Luther King Jr. and his stand against racism and police brutality during the civil rights movement. The event was organized in response to recent killings of African Americans by police, specifically Michael Brown, who was killed in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner, who was killed in New York City.
The event was a “coming together” of community members, according to the event’s Facebook page.
“This event is envisioned as a coming together of community members concerned about social justice and outraged at the atrocities of anti-black racism in our country,” Ellen Wu, a host of the online event, said in a post. “It will be a loose gathering, as no one person or organization is in charge.”
Stephanie Waller, a senior in the IU School of Social Work, brought a homemade poster to the event.
By the time the demonstration began around 5 p.m., there were well over 100 people present and participating.
They started by walking north along College Mall Road towards the intersection of East Third Street and College Mall Road, where they proceeded to fill the pedestrian crosswalks of the intersection, effectively blocking all traffic from driving through the intersection.
According to an event flier, the traffic block was a planned aspect of the protest.
Protesters began to chant in unison as someone played King’s “I Have a Dream” speech over a pair of portable speakers.
Police arrived at the scene of the demonstration just minutes after traffic was stopped and stayed until it disbanded. No officers were willing to give a statement.
Fireworks burned in the middle of the intersection. One protester lit a smoke bomb and dropped it in the street.
Zola Lopes, a young girl who attends the Project School in Bloomington, was at the demonstration.
“I would like to march for those who have been killed from police, all that has happened in the past 50 years and for MLK,” Lopes said.
A small scuffle took place when police tried to subdue a man who was attempting to flee. Other protesters broke their formation to surround and protect the man but he was caught and handcuffed.
After the protesters’ formation was broken, traffic began to move through the intersection again, forcing the protesters to move their demonstration south on College Mall Road.
The protest ended at around 6:15 p.m. following a moment of silence. The moment of silence lasted for 4 1/2 minutes, symbolic of the 4 1/2 hours Michael Brown’s body lay in the street, said the woman leading the protest with a megaphone.
A fund was started on the website to raise money to bail the two men out of jail.
Some of the protesters regrouped later that evening for a second demonstration at 9 p.m. at People’s Park.
The second demonstration was significantly smaller than the first. About 25 people marched from People’s Park to the Monroe County Jail. They walked down Kirkwood and College avenues, blocking traffic as they went, chanting “Freedom to the prisoners, fire to the prisons.”
Brochures and fliers were handed out at the first event, detailing the purpose of the event and what motives they had for stopping traffic.
“We cannot simultaneously uproot this brutal, racist system and maintain ‘business as usual’,” said a note in an event brochure, followed by quoting Martin Luther King Jr., “There must be more than a statement to the larger society. There must be a force that interrupts its functioning at some point.”
From the organizers:
Today at 4:30 PM
Gather at O’Malias parking lot, 512 S College Mall Rd
On MLK Day, reclaim the legacy of Dr. King by standing against racism, police brutality. Because Black Lives Matter.
If you’re unable to make it at 4:30 because of work/other obligations, please don’t let that stop you from coming! Late is better than never!
“What will be happening?”: This event is envisioned as a coming together of community members concerned about social justice and outraged at the atrocities of anti-black racism in our country. It will be a loose gathering, as no one person or organization is in charge. In the spirit of Dr. King, the unifying theme will be the demand for wide-reaching, meaningful social change. There will be a variety of ways to participate and we encourage everyone to come with your ideas.
G. Glenn Carter, 51 JUNE 18, 1963—DEC. 9, 2014
G. Glenn Carter, 51, died at his home in Bloomington on December 9, 2014. He was born in Indianapolis on June 18, 1963, to Earl and Jeanette (Neal) Carter. He was a graduate of Park Tudor School and Wabash College and did graduate work in American Studies at Indiana University. He is survived by his parents, his sister Elizabeth Carter Grissom and her husband Erik Grissom, nieces Amelia and Clara, and his uncle Fritz Neal. Glenn was exceptionally articulate and a lifelong lover of books and learning, a free spirit with a wonderful sense of humor, a great friend, son and brother. He will be fondly remembered and deeply missed by many in the Bloomington and Indianapolis communities.
Glenn was an accomplished artist and metal sculptor and a member of Hoosier Artist Gallery in Nashville. His sculptures were primarily inspired by nature, which fascinated him since childhood, especially fishing and outdoor exploration. He evolved from tinkering and trading tools to self-taught mastery of the principles of metallurgy and advanced metal working techniques. Glenn made metal renditions of creatures he invented, as well as anatomically accurate replicas of various species, earning commissions from scientists at Indiana University. He also participated in local art shows, especially the annual Déjá Vu Recycled Art show in Columbus, Indiana.
He was a community activist who worked tirelessly for social justice. Glenn was a constant presence at community meetings, marches, demonstrations, and other advocacy events, especially on issues relating to homelessness and addiction. He spoke the truth to any who would listen, and to many who would not, but always did so with a sense of humor, and a sense of the absurd, while respecting persons on all sides of the issue. Glenn was dedicated to the search for workable solutions to problems of social inequality, and was once nominated for the Channel 6 Jefferson Award for community service.
He was a beloved member of the recovery community in Bloomington and Indianapolis, and patiently helped countless people across the addiction spectrum over many years. Glenn was always available to anybody who needed him, and he spent many hours helping others and building a safe community for those in need of help. Toward the end of his life, he advocated and agitated constantly for a permanent detoxification and rehabilitation center in Bloomington for those battling addiction. Rest in power, Glenn, and those you inspired will carry on.
A memorial service and celebration of Glenn’s life and work will take place on Saturday, January 17, 2015, from 12 noon to 3 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church on Grant Street downtown. In the spirit of Glenn’s life, the service and celebration are open to all, and all are welcome to participate. Those wishing to contribute can contact Joe Varga at email@example.com or visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1498019007154534/.
A comrade of Glenn’s sends along this addendum:
I think it’s worth putting out there that public events aren’t the only place memorial can happen and that perhaps another meaningful memorial is to take inspiration for further struggle against the things that enforce homelessness and also the forces that make poisons that our bodies can’t get enough of a part of our daily lives, and most importantly to continue building communities to support each other in our struggle to fight and survive against the forces of capital.
New flyer and text from Indiana Queer Prisoner Solidarity: