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UK student group puts up banners on campus to highlight racial injustice

Posted at 5:17 PM, Aug 17, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — UK senior Khari Gardner wanted to get the University of Kentucky administrators' attention, and he did Saturday.

Gardner, who founded the Movement for Black Lives at UK, was one of several students who placed four banners on campus Saturday to show their experiences with racism and to call on the university to take action.

"The n-word, if we're going to keep like it didn't happen, nothing will change. We wanted to make sure people read that sign and knew that story existed, it's happening to students," said Gardner.

The banner at the Gatton Student Center was placed at 8:30 a.m., and by 11 a.m., UK police had removed it and the other banners.

The group wants diversity inclusion, more scholarship money for women and minorities, more campus buildings named after people of color, and additional anti-racism training.

UK Spokesman Jay Blanton released this statement:

"The core of the issue is the well-being of our students, faculty, and staff. When members of our community hurt, we all hurt. When members of our community are marginalized by hateful speech or discriminatory actions, we need to act; we must act. It's our responsibility to protect and support our community. We can't be a community when people are victimized. As such, beginning this summer, we announced dedicated efforts to spur cultural change and combat racism; efforts designed to take bold and decisive actions. Some of that change will take months and years. But the urgency of our work will be seen this Fall semester. Our collective work is to move forward together and now."

Gardner says the group will continue hanging banners if administrators don't address their concerns.

"I decided I'm going to take action," said Gardner. "Make sure anybody who steps on this campus after their next four years is better than my last four years."