Ville Platte residents march for justice on the eve of Juneteenth

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VILLE PLATTE, La. (KLFY) — A rally on the eve of Juneteenth in Ville Platte asked for racial justice not just nationally but within Evangeline Parish to end.

People remembered the lives of black men locally and beyond who lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement.

Gabrielle Robertson said she experienced in 2014 when her brother, Keenan Ardoin, died while in the custody of Ville Platte Police.

“We missing him so much,” Robertson said next to her mother. “If maybe they (police) could have just helped him, he would still be here.”

According to Robertson, “Justice has not yet been served.”

Since then names like George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery have spread a movement across the country.

Thursday, Robertson showed she’s ready to take a stand for her home, organizing a march and rally in her neighborhood.

First to speak, Robertson told the crowd, “This is just the beginning. I’m not going to stop until we get justice in this community.”

For half a mile, signs were shown and voices shouted out as one saying, “What do we want? Justice.” and “Get your knee off my neck.”

It was a message local leaders like Mayor Jennifer Vidrine recognized and addressed.

“It’s high time. It’s past time. It’s about time that Evangeline Parish and Ville Platte stop the injustice and become justice for all,” Mayor Vidrine told the crowd.

It was the first march Robertson organized to end racial inequality, saying she’s fought depression and fear since she lost her brother, but she pledged for Keenan and everybody else, it won’t be the last event she makes happen.

She hopes to spearhead a Ville Platte NAACP board, but she needs 50 members.

Robertson told the crowd, “I’m going to keep on going, and I’m going to keep on going to try and better not only my community but maybe give more young people like myself the advice to make them want to do more for their community.”

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