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Cleveland Indian Community Rallies in Support of Black Lives Matter

photo of Hrishue Mahalaha
Hrishue Mahalaha (center) is one of many organizers of the Indians For Black Lives Matter rally, which began at the Indian Cultural Garden in Cleveland and ended with participants taking a knee for 8:46 in honor of George Floyd.

Indian-Americans in Cleveland rallied Sunday in support of Black Lives Matter.

Starting at the Indian Cultural Gardens, the group marched, discussed, and took a knee for 8:46 in honor of George Floyd, the Minnesota man killed May 25 by a Minneapolis police officer.  

photo of Nivi Engineer
Nivi Engineer helped organize the group Indians For Black Lives Matter, and closed the rally on Sunday by asking the crowd, 'which side of history do we want to be on?'

Charesha Barrett from Cleveland was there and says she’s glad Indians and African-Americans have started working together.

“Normally, Asians were considered a model minority and they didn’t ruffle any feathers. Now, people are saying, ‘How can we help those people, such as African-Americans, to push ahead?’”

Attorney Subodh Chandra -- who was on the legal team representing Tamir Rice’s family in its suit against the City of Cleveland -- says solidarity between Northeast Ohio’s Black and South Asian communities is important.

“Our successful existence in this great nation has occurred because we are standing on the shoulders of the sacrifices made by the African-American community.”

The Indians For Black Lives Matter group plans to hold eight events this year to attract 5,000 more people to the movement in Northeast Ohio. They’re also launching a petition drive in support of police reform legislation currently before the U.S. Senate.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.