In the largest protest held in Bloomington for decades, thousands of people gathered on June 5 in Dunn Meadow on the Indiana University campus and then marched to the Monroe County Courthouse. The peaceful march and protest, called “Enough Is Enough,” followed the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man by Minneapolis police, along with the recent killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade, among others.
As with protests nationwide and around the world, “Enough Is Enough” was in response not just to police brutality that plagues the nation but also to systemic racism and injustices toward Black people in every part of society — from housing to health care to education to voting rights to food insecurity to criminal justice, to name just a few.
“Enough Is Enough” was organized by IU students, community residents, and local organizations. Participants carried signs that had messages of hope, outrage, and conviction:
- No Justice, No Peace
- Silence Is Violence
- Say Their Names
- George Floyd
- I Can’t Breathe
- Stop Killing Black People
- Defund the Police
- Respect My Existence Or Expect My Resistance
- Happy Birthday, Breonna Taylor
- Say Her Name
Breonna Taylor was a first responder in Louisville, Kentucky, who, on March 13, was killed in her home by police who were executing a “no-knock warrant.” Friday, June 5, the day of “Enough Is Enough,” would have been her 27th birthday. Several people who spoke in Dunn Meadow and the Courthouse lawn led the crowd in saying “Happy Birthday, Breonna. Rest in power.”
Many of the speakers, however, also emphasized that, while the event on Friday was uplifting and motivating in the fight for anti-racism and racial justice, a march and a protest were not enough.
Seth Debro, for example, says he was representing the Bloomington Commission on the Status of Black Males, but, he added, “The fact that we have to have a commission on the status of Black males tells you the status.”
“I am a lifelong resident of Bloomington, and I have seen how racism has affected this community — infected this community. And I want to challenge each and every one here today to keep this same energy tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. We’re going to need this energy. … It’s not just about the police killings. That’s the overt racism. We are getting hit every day with blows in school, in our workplace, in common areas. It’s tough out here. … So I challenge you to work on this a month from now, a week from now, a year from now when this has died down.
“Everybody has to keep them accountable. It goes without saying that the mask is off of the police. There needs to be defunding. Those resources need to be allocated throughout the community, specifically the Near West Side of Bloomington, right down the street, which is home to many Black people. So challenge your mayor, challenge your city councilor, challenge all the officials. Hold them accountable to reallocate these funds and reinvest them in Black people. We need it.”