LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Participants in a large cheerleading competition unexpectedly came face to face with Louisville protesters over the weekend.
“Your white privilege daughters are here today for a cheerleading competition,” one protester said through a megaphone Saturday. “Breonna Taylor will never get to have a child, will never get to have a daughter, will never get to be anything other than another hashtag.”
Some adults complained the young girls, who were entering the Kentucky International Convention Center for a cheerleading competition, were driven to tears by the experience.
“It’s not a good look,” Mayor Greg Fischer said Monday. “And to me it doesn’t make any sense on what people think the positive outcome is going to be when you do something like that to people that are visiting our city and even people who live here as well.”
“White feelings are not above Black lives,” protest organizer Amber Brown said. “Black children and Brown children have no protection and yet we’re expected to protect the feelings of white children while Black children are being murdered by police officers.”
Brown said there was no need to offer an apology. She refuted claims made on social media regarding violence and lewd behavior.
“We did not bust any windows,” she said. “No protesters exposed themselves. No one went in the convention center and destroyed anything. None of these things and none of these narratives that keep circulating actually happened.”
“Many people in our community, in our city, are still very, very frustrated, and rightfully so,” said Timothy Findley Jr., Kingdom Fellowship Christian Life Center senior pastor and frequent protest participant.
He was not involved in the protest, but said he views the confrontation as a sign of ongoing frustration inflamed by recent legislative actions.
“House Bill 479, Senate Bill 211, House Bill 309, these are direct attacks that are aimed to suppress votes,” Findley said. “These are direct attacks that are aimed to criminalize protesters.”
Findley would not condemn or condone the actions of protesters at the convention center.
Parents and other adults approached for this story who were at the convention center Saturday declined to comment, citing fears of possible harassment if they spoke out.
The confrontation happened just as the city was hoping for quick return of its convention business after months of cancellations and inactivity because of COVID-19.
“People do have First Amendment rights,” Fischer said Monday. “Unfortunately, part of that is when people can be obnoxious. But when they cross the line is when LMPD moved in. So we’re really sorry for the people that were inconvenienced by that.”