CORBIN — One Corbin resident has helped plan a small peaceful gathering to honor those who have lost their lives to injustice. United they will come together against racism and systemic injustice in the wake of recent events across the country.
Abbey Grace of Corbin graduated from the University of the Cumberlands with a bachelor's degree in human services and criminal justice and has studied these very issues for four years.
Grace said she understands the recent events didn’t happen in the city of Corbin but racism, according to Grace, is closer to home than many realize. In light of that, a group of concerned citizens will gather in Nibroc Park Thursday through Saturday from 6:30-9:30 p.m. with signs, hoping for change. The group plans for prayer and awareness on the issues.
The group does not believe all law enforcement officers are bad — Grace said that’s often a common misconception. In fact she said her group contacted the Corbin Police Department about the event. She hopes they attend the event.
“We just want our community members that are black to feel safe and protected, to feel equal as they should,” said Grace. “We’re expressing our First Amendment right.”
There's deep systemic abuse that happens every day, it’s there and it needs to be addressed, according to Grace. "We have corrupt departments that overshadow the good officers that we have, painting them in a negative light."
Grace said she expects a small group of teachers, college graduates, and even a few high school students to show up and offer their support and come together.
“We just want to wrap the black community in complete love,” Grace said. “We want them to know they are loved, appreciated and protected here.”
The group is not engaging in riot behavior.
“If someone tries to provoke us into anger, we have all agreed to fall silent and take a knee,” said Grace. “Sometimes silence can be deafening.”
Corbin Mayor Suzie Razmus said while it is well within their constitutional rights to peacefully protest, she also hopes they come and support some of the locally owned downtown businesses that have been especially hit hard by the coronavirus.
“I also would think that our local racial justice group, the Sunup Initiative, would be on hand to ensure protests will indeed be peaceful,” added Razmus. “There will be zero tolerance for lawlessness of any kind. Corbin has had two peaceable protests in the past week, one of which I spoke and another where our police knelt with the protesters. I think our city has spoken clearly to the issue at hand and again, there will be zero tolerance of lawlessness.”
“We just want the black community to feel accepted and welcomed as they are,” said Grace. "They shouldn’t have to fear for their lives from people that are supposed to serve and protect us They shouldn’t feel left out of society because of the color of their skin.”