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WOMAN SUCCESSFULLY PROTESTS THE KENTUCKY DERBY DESPITE THE ODDS.

By:  George Addison

“Wheels of justice grind slow but grind fine”

Sun Tzu, General, Philosopher

When one thinks of justice in America, they often think about the impartial, fair, and moral treatment of all people.  Justice is typically a basic fundamental concept, in most systems of law, and it’s the word that signifies a fair result.

That is exactly what Antwynette Houston is seeking for her eleven-year-old son and herself.  The former nursing student, now turned advocate for justice, has been struggling for three years to get a fair result from the City of Louisville, its Mayor, and the Louisville Police Department.

Her assault by a policeman and the subsequent treatment by the justice system left physical, emotional, and financial scars which may never be remedied.

I asked Ms. Houston to describe what took place on that early morning of August 3rd of 2013, she said:

“I live in Louisville Kentucky, home of the Kentucky Derby. I’ve lived in this city my whole life and have never felt afraid to do anything. On August 3, 2013, all that changed. I was attacked one early morning around 3 a.m. by an off duty LMPD officer. I had just returned from an out-of-town funeral and decided to stop at a gas station for a snack before going home. My son who was nine-years-old at the time was sleeping in the backseat.

The incident stemmed from a verbal altercation over a parking space, which was initiated by the police officer. The result, in the end, was that he completely separated my shoulder. I sustained multiple injuries and had surgery twice on my shoulder.  I am still unable to use my arm today. I’m currently seeking help to undergo a third surgery.

I have addressed this issue many times with the chief of police and Mayor, the officer has never been disciplined or suspended. Despite the public outcry, Louisville’s chief of police ruled that the officers’ actions were “Lawful and Proper” even though he was off duty and had no probable cause to stop me.”

Houston staged her protest along one of the busiest streets where racing enthusiasts and visitors would see her signs. Photo Courtesy: A. Houston

Houston staged her protest along one of the busiest streets where racing enthusiasts and visitors would see her signs. Photo Courtesy: A. Houston

So, on May 7th, 2016, with very little fanfare Houston summoned up the courage to take her message to the people and follow through on her commitment to protest and boycott the Greatest Two minutes in sports – the Kentucky Derby.  Her intent was not to disrupt the Derby, but use it to get her voice heard.  This was an event she once attended, worked, and supported in years past.  She is determined to continue protesting each year until her case has a positive resolution.

Houston staged her protest along one of the busiest streets where racing enthusiasts and visitors would see her signs.  She knew the odds were stacked against her by planning to protest with such short notice, but she believed the principles of her case dictated that something had to be done.

She said, “The protest sent the exact message I wanted it to send.  I only wanted people to know my son and I are still fighting for justice.  This is not our shame; it’s the shame of the City of Louisville, the Mayor and the Police department.  I didn’t use any bull horns to amplify my message, just word of mouth, the pictures and the internet.  The pictures spoke volumes and in my opinion, so did my presence.  It was a proud moment that I’ll never forget.”

Houston further added, “It was important to do because it allowed my message to remain consistent so that my son would understand the merits of our effort.  I’ve taught him that we stand on principle even when no one else stands with us.  Doing the right thing often takes courage.  Sometimes no one will stand with you.  But you still stand and do what’s right.”

Houston took her message to the people via a number of signs. Photo Courtesy: A. Houston

Houston took her message to the people via a number of signs. Photo Courtesy: A. Houston

Despite being in the shadow of the 142nd Kentucky Derby and its opulence, Houston received words of support and encouragement from the numerous people who saw her protesting.  Her petition on Change.org drew support from people living in countries like; France, United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, South Africa, Ireland, South Korea, Grenada and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

There was also support from residents living in some thirty-five states such as; New York, California, North Carolina, Kentucky, District of Columbia, Missouri, Texas, Maryland, Idaho, Indiana, Virginia, Washington, Ohio, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Minnesota, Illinois, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Alabama, South Carolina, Arizona, Oregon, Mississippi, Nebraska, Louisiana, West Virginia, Delaware, Massachusetts and Nevada.

All of the people supporting Ms. Houston have expressed one simple sentiment – that Justice for her and her eleven-year-old son is overdue; and that the emotional, physical and financial burden unduly placed on them should end with a fair and just result.

To date, Ms. Houston and her son have only made it financially as a result of the support and efforts of others.  As she struggles to get donations for a third surgery, Houston thanks those who have given to her cause and asks that others find it in their hearts to do so.  She added, “My plight is one that no human being should be placed in or have to survive.”

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2 Comments on “WOMAN SUCCESSFULLY PROTESTS THE KENTUCKY DERBY DESPITE THE ODDS.”

  1. UVCC Says:

    Hey George,

    Love the article and the efforts put forth to make it all happen. Your fingerprints are all over this, you are indeed a man for all seasons.

    HL

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