LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — The protest in downtown Lafayette started with a mission of staying peaceful. Protest organizer Kaja Jones tells us the goal was to bring a call for action against racial-injustice and honor the black lives lost at the hands of police officers.
This includes the recent death of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and most George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.
"This is black lives matter," said Jones. "This is our children being killed, they're being murdered by the very same people that have vowed to protect and serve them. More training is necessary, more social training is necessary for all police departments. You're vowing to protect and serve the public and the public doesn't look like one person."
Jones became the face of the protest after posting on social media asking if community members would be interested in participating in a peaceful protest, it ended up getting a lot of attention. This led Jones to organize a peaceful march from the Tippecanoe County Courthouse to the Lafayette Police Department.
Jones came with two goals, sharing their concerns about racial-inequality to city leaders and staying peaceful.
"I have been assured many times over by the Lafayette Police Department with direct contact that this is meant to be peaceful, they are at the same agreement," said Jones. "They made it perfectly clear they plan to just hang back and only be present if necessary."
Multiple protests broke out amid the one Jones was leading. Her protest started with prayer at the Tippecanoe County Courthouse at 8 p.m. Then marching to the Lafayette Police Department where city and county leaders came out to listen. They even stuck around after the march to talk with protesters. Finally, marching back to the courthouse around 9:30 and going on their way from there.
"For over 400 years, nobody could hear us and if this is what it takes for everybody to hear us then that's why we're here," said one protester who chose not to be identified.
Black protestors say they couldn't miss this opportunity to be heard.
"We have sons that look like the people that are getting hurt everyday single day and if we don't stand up and say something about it who's going to? It starts with us, we have to be here," said another protestor who asked not to be identified.
Non-black protestors say it's also their obligation to stand in solidarity.
"It's way past time for us and specifically white people to stand up with and for the black community and I don't think sharing things on Facebook is good enough so that's why I'm here," said protestor Kristen Moore.
"The harder we fight and the more we prove that enough is enough, we can enact real change," added protestor Jake Triplett.
Jones's protest started at 8 p.m. and ended around 9:30 p.m. She said what happens after 9:30 is not associated with their fight against racial injustice.