Hundreds of people marched and rallied against gun violence on Saturday afternoon in front of Metro Hall.
The event was one of several hundred March for Our Lives events happening in cities across America and in a few international cities that day.
The March for Our Lives movement started in 2018 after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Mayor Greg Fischer began the event with a speech, in which he called out fellow politicians, especially those at the state and federal levels, "who are in position to do something about [gun violence] but don't do anything about it."
"You must act now," exhorted Fischer, "to value the lives of those that you are sworn to protect, and protect them over the gun lobby!"
"Guns have invaded every aspect of our lives: going to the store, to the movies, to a concert, to school, to our houses of worship, in our homes, our streets, and our relationships. This is a nightmare that must stop," Fischer continued. "Do you value guns or do you value people?"
The crowd also heard from Congressman John Yarmuth, as well as Rose Smith, the founder of The ACE Project and the mother of Cory "Ace" Crowe., Sr., who was killed in 2014, and other speakers who have been affected by gun violence.
During the march, Yarmuth sported a "supersized" letter F, which he said was a larger version of the lapel pin he wears with pride every day he works in Congress: it represents his "F" grade from the National Rifle Association.
"When I wear this, a lot of people say, is that like, 'F you?'" said Yarmuth. "When it comes to the NRA, yes, it is."
Many of the protest signs and several of the speakers referenced recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, as well as less recent ones like those in Sandy Hook and Las Vegas.
The frequency with which mass shootings happen in America was the impetus for the chant that refrained and echoed throughout the afternoon, from the podium to the streets:
"Enough is enough!"
After the speeches, the group marched down Sixth Street to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza outside the Mazzoli Federal Building, where Sen. Mitch McConnell has a local office.
McConnell, unsurprisingly, was a frequently referenced but unpopular figure that afternoon; even the first mention of his name in Fischer's speech drew hearty boos from the crowd. One of the chants during the march was, "Hey hey! Ho ho! Mitch McConnell has got to go!" At least one protest sign called him out directly: "PRICE TO KILL OUR CHiLDREN??? FOR OUR SENATOR, IT'S $1,283,515 #DitchMitch," referring to the amount of money McConnell has accepted from the NRA, according to OpenSecrets.
Although McConnell did not attend the rally, Fischer and Yarmuth weren't the only political figures there: Charles Booker and Craig Greenberg were both present in the crowd. Greenberg has spoken publicly about surviving an assassination attempt during his mayoral campaign earlier this year.
At the plaza, Keshawn Johnson, a member of The Real Young Prodigy's, performed a spoken word poem.
"I'm a threat to society because of the way my melanin glows," he said. "The threat is, we can't go to school without practicing lockdown drills that don't save our lives."
The crowd then marched back to Metro Hall for a performance by The Real Young Prodigy's.
The protest included representatives from the The ACE Project, Louisville Metro Office of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, The Center for Women and Families, Moms Demand Action, WE Day Kentucky, Moms Demand Action, MOMS — Mothers of Murdered Sons and Daughters, and JCPS Justice Now.
Check out the gallery for LEO's photos of the event.
06/11/2022 | Photos by Carolyn Brown • [email protected] • @cebrownphoto