LOUISVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — Every year, the Kentucky Derby puts Louisville in the spotlight, but this year, some want the spotlight to remain on the fight for social justice.
Activists are boycotting the derby, saying the city is still grieving from the death of Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by Louisville police in March. Many have called for the arrest of officers involved.
The Kentucky Derby was pushed to September due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Boycott organizers Brittany Wiley and Elysia Bowman say the city should not be moving forward with the celebration as if nothing happened.
"We need systematic change. Thank you for taking the statues down. Thank you for the scholarships. Thank you for all the Breonna tributes. We appreciate it, we love it, but we need change for my daughter our kids our future," said Wiley.
The two point out other deaths that have occurred in Louisville since Taylor's.
"Since Breonna's death David McAtee has been killed," said Bowman. "That was ironic. What about him? Since then, Tyler [Gerth] was killed. That blows my mind because that doesn't make sense. Someone could fire in a crowd of a peaceful protest for Breonna Taylor, and someone gets killed. It's like where were the police then?"
The women said two pandemics are going on right now - COVID-19 and racial injustice. They believe the city should sit in silence on derby weekend.
The Kentucky Derby Festival issued a statement in June about its support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Still, neither the festival nor Churchill Downs has publicly commented on the boycott yet.