Vandalized sign leads to Carmel protest against racial injustice set for June 14


After Ashten Spilker’s yard sign supporting the Black Lives Matter movement was vandalized — twice — at her Carmel home, she took to Facebook to post videos about her resolve to keep repairing the sign every day if that’s what it takes.

“The fact that someone would come on to my property and vandalize my sign supporting this movement shows an attitude that is present in Carmel,” said Spilker, adding that she’s been the target of glares, obscene gestures and shouts in her normally friendly neighborhood since displaying the sign.

So, Spilker and two friends who saw her video decided to spread their message in a bigger way. They organized a protest that will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. June 14 at the gazebo near Carmel City Hall, 1 Civic Square.

The peaceful protest will include speakers, live music and opportunities for attendees to support black-owned businesses. Organizers received approval from the City of Carmel and Carmel Police Dept. to use the space for the protest, which is not affiliated with any organization.

Spilker and her co-organizers, Breanna Hargrove and Kayla Seymour, are 2014 graduates of Hamilton Southeastern High school.

Spilker hopes the protest will shed light on an issue not frequently addressed in Carmel.

“Carmel is a predominantly white area, and there is a lot of racism in Carmel that’s not addressed or brought to attention,” Spilker said. “Even though it might not be something you see happening in the store, it is the attitude of some people that live in Carmel. You don’t see it because only 2.6 percent of residents in Carmel are black, so I think it’s important that people in Carmel rally together as allies and show support for this movement.”


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