‘Let this be a movement.’ Peaceful protest conducted for victim of racial violence on campus


Abbey Cutrer

Kylah Spring speaks at the March Against Racism on Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Abbey Cutrer | Staff

Alexis Baker, Reporter

Demonstrators gathered outside William T. Young Library Thursday evening to march in solidarity with Kylah Spring, a freshman UK student who was a victim of racial violence on UK’s campus.

The event was organized by Phillip Foster, UK’s chapter president of Phi Beta Sigma, along with help from Vice President Troy Rawlins Jr.

“This is really huge, and hopefully the university will take note,” Foster said.

Attendees were conversing about the incident with their peers, some of whom held posters with messages in support of Spring.

“This is Kentucky, (so) you see racist events happen all the time, but growing up in Lexington it’s just so disappointing to see something like this happen on our campus,” Joy Ntakarutimana, a freshman biology major, said.

The protesters chanted “no justice, no peace,” “Black Lives Matter” and “protect Black women” as they walked from William T. Young Library to the Bowman statue, a monument on the north side of campus.

Upon arrival at the statue, organizers of the event spoke out about the racism that people of color face on UK’s campus and the injustice Spring experienced.

“It’s disheartening. It’s hard when you’re constantly seeing the same thing and nothing is being done about it,” Rawlins Jr. said. “We have to get out, we have to advocate for our community … no student should ever have to face something like that on campus.”

Spring attended the protest alongside friends and family and spoke out about the incident she experienced Sunday morning.

“I was physically, verbally and racially assaulted by Jane Doe A.K.A. Sophia Rosing, a 22-year-old student here at the University of Kentucky,” Spring said. “To my Black UK community, I see you, I feel you, and I stand with you.”

To conclude her statement, Spring gave words of advice and referenced Michelle Obama’s quote, “When they go low, we go high.”

She repeated the statement three times, each louder than the last as the crowd joined in.

Spring’s mother, Betsy Spring, also spoke out at the event, where she shared her thoughts and feelings in regard to her daughter’s incident as well as the future of the campus.

“Let the end of the story be the end of the story, and let’s turn a new page and write a new story,” Betsy Spring said. “We’re grateful for you, but we charge you to not just let this be a moment, let this be a movement.”

Attendees of the event were also given the opportunity to speak out about their opinions on how the university is handling Spring’s incident and other personal instances of racism.

The organizers then held a moment of meditation to promote further thought about solutions to racist behavior on campus. Protestors were encouraged to submit their ideas to the Martin Luther King Center in the UK Gatton Student Center.

The event concluded with an optional prayer.