Community

A day after neo-Nazis rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia, where three people died, leaders of Jewish and Christian houses of worship encouraged the crowd outside the St. Paul United Methodist Church in the Highlands to turn their pain into motivation.

Jason Crosby of Crescent Hill Baptist Church called particularly on white moderates.

“My prayer tonight is that other white Christians will stand up and acknowledge our complicity in racist systems and institutions that have brought us thus far and will honestly repent and then move toward reconciliation with our brothers and sisters so that events such as yesterday will never happen again,” he said.

Kate Howard | wfpl.org

Jeremiah Cunningham of the Salt Creek Sundance passes around a peace pipe.

The weekend’s events prompted Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer to order a review of all public art in Louisville to determine what might be considered, quote, “honoring bigotry, racism or slavery.”

A statue of Confederate officer John Breckinridge Castleman in Cherokee Triangle was doused Sunday in orange paint. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray also called for the removal of that city’s Confederate statues this weekend.

Earlier Sunday, Black Lives Matter marchers were met at some moments with police officers holding batons. State Representative Attica Scott shared a video on Twitter of a line of Louisville Metro Police officers moving the crowd with batons in hand. In the video, Scott told the officers they were unnecessarily escalating a peaceful crowd.

“What I’m saying is, that’s part of the problem with relationships with community and police but we didn’t need that,” she said. “We were already going to get on the sidewalk but this just escalated. That’s all.”

Back on Douglass Boulevard, one cop stood on the corner as faith leaders spoke to a mostly white crowd. Matt Goldberg, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council said he hoped those assembled would create some good from the hate.

“It should wake us up to the fact that hatred and bigotry are still very much a problem, and needs to be confronted and stamped out wherever it is,” he said. “It should remind us to continue to be a compassionate society, and teach it in our schools and live compassion in our lives.”

Kate Howard is a veteran investigative reporter specializing in government accountability and higher education issues.