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'A critical moment in history': Hundreds in Nashville protest Breonna Taylor decision

The Tennessean (Nashville) logo The Tennessean (Nashville) 9/27/2020 Sandy Mazza, Nashville Tennessean

About 300 protesters gathered at War Memorial Plaza downtown to call for the officers who shot Breonna Taylor in Louisville to be charged with murder.

The event was organized in response to this week’s announcement by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron that no officers will face murder charges in the 26-year-old woman’s death.

The group marched around the State Capitol and downtown after a series of speeches from legislators, Black Lives Matter representatives, community organizers and members of People’s Plaza Tennessee — a group that set up camp outside the State Capitol for 62 days.

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"Every institution is perpetuating a total indifference to the value of black lives," said Xtiana Danielle, a member of the People’s Plaza group, which is calling for the police to be defunded and all Confederate monuments removed. "I’m sad, and I’m mad. This is a call to action. The final say is always white supremacy, and we can’t allow that anymore."

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Protesters march through downtown Nashville as they demonstrate against the Louisville grand jury decision about the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor on Saturday, September 26, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. © Mark Zaleski/ For the Tennessean Protesters march through downtown Nashville as they demonstrate against the Louisville grand jury decision about the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor on Saturday, September 26, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn.

The march is one in a series that have taken place across from the Tennessee State Capitol since the death of George Floyd during his arrest by Minneapolis police officers in May.

Most speakers called for protesters to vote the Democratic Party ticket.

"We’re approaching a critical moment in history. This can go both ways," said Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville. "This is a country that often does not live up to its ideals. If we can just have decent leadership in our country. Breonna Taylor is one of thousands of victims of systemic racism. It’s too late for her but there are others who will face the same murderous challenges."

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Nashville Deputy Mayor Brenda Haywood talked about marching against racial segregation and working toward integrating her high school as a child.

"I want you to know that standing in front of me is a sea of potential," Haywood said. "They tried to convince me I was a nobody, but my parents and my community taught me I was somebody. We have to carry ourselves in a dignified way. Our silence speaks louder than our violence."

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: A Black Lives Matter protester, center, stands in front of two men gesturing to the crowd of marchers as they walk along Broadway on Saturday, September 26, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. The protest was in response to a Louisville grand jury decision about the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor. © Mark Zaleski/ For the Tennessean A Black Lives Matter protester, center, stands in front of two men gesturing to the crowd of marchers as they walk along Broadway on Saturday, September 26, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. The protest was in response to a Louisville grand jury decision about the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor.

Gabriel Vaden, a member of People’s Plaza, talked about being charged with trespassing in July during a protest at the State Capitol. More than 50 protestors were arrested and charged after state troopers said they charged the Capitol.

"I had a panic attack and they tranquilized me. I made it very clear that I have bipolar disorder," Vaden said. "There’s no reason why a man in full gear, with a SWAT shield, should be assisting someone who is saying: ‘I can’t breathe. My heart hurts.’ I got charged with four counts, but I wasn’t made aware in the hospital that I was charged. Black people are in peril. Trans people are in peril. The LGBTQ community is in peril. Arbitrary laws won’t stop us because all the systems of oppression have been arbitrary this entire time."

a crowd of people: Protesters cheer as they demonstrates at Legislative Plaza in front of the Tennessee State Capital on Saturday, September 26, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. The protest was in response to a Louisville grand jury decision about the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor. © Mark Zaleski/ For the Tennessean Protesters cheer as they demonstrates at Legislative Plaza in front of the Tennessee State Capital on Saturday, September 26, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. The protest was in response to a Louisville grand jury decision about the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: 'A critical moment in history': Hundreds in Nashville protest Breonna Taylor decision

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