Hundreds of protestors marched through downtown Carmel on June 1 to protest the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis Police Dept. officer and other police incidents that have led to the deaths of black people nationwide.
What started as a group of approximately 20 people at 5 p.m. on the corner of Main Street and Range Line Road grew to a couple hundred at its peak as the group marched through the Arts & Design District and along the Monon Greenway, shouting “black lives matter,” “say his name: George Floyd” and other chants.
Carmel High School student Klay Gabriel said she felt led to protest not only because of Floyd’s death but also because of the racism she’s experienced in her hometown.
“As a biracial woman, the hate I get here breaks my heart, and it breaks my heart for all the other black people that live here and go to my high school,” Gabriel said. “If there’s anywhere we need to protest in Indiana, it’s in Carmel. Everyone needs to come out here.”
Rebecca Forbes, a University of Indianapolis student who grew up in Carmel, said she witnessed racist attitudes at school and in the community when she had a black boyfriend. She marched in part to bring attention to the disparity between how people of different races are treated.
“People of color cannot be the only people to be speaking out against this,” said Forbes, who is white.
The three-hour march remained peaceful, with Carmel police officers stopping traffic to allow protesters to safely cross streets. Many people watched the demonstration while shopping or dining at businesses along Main Street.
Carmel police said they learned of the protest through social media and were not contacted by organizers before it began.