Taylor Hall

Activist Taylor Hall uses art to make social messages, including her song “I Can’t Breathe,” performed at protests this summer. (Screenshot)

When Taylor Hall realized the children she worked with didn’t feel connected to what was going on during the recent protests downtown, she knew she wanted to take action. 

“If we can get the youth involved now in a safe environment, it could impact them and affect the future,” Hall, 20, said. “They are our future and next leaders. We need to make sure they feel empowered.”

Hall organized the Youth Voices Matter rally, which will be Oct. 17 at the Statehouse. Alongside partners from Indy Nasty Women, the Women’s March, the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus and the United Northeast Community Development Corporation (UNEC), the rally will coincide with the Crossroads of Democracy day of action. Hall said groups decided to partner because each organization planned an event at roughly the same time. 

The day of action will include live music and spoken word performances, an area for children to make protest signs, a voting simulation for students and a youth-led march around the Statehouse. Hall, who works for Artivist, a group who use art to promote social justice messages, debuted her song “I Can’t Breathe” at a sit-in at the Statehouse in June.

Hall got her start in activism earlier this summer following the death of Dreasjon Reed. A Ball State student, Hall organized a demonstration on her campus following the shooting of Jacob Blake. Hall gets inspiration from her family and other local activists. 

“My grandfather marched with Martin Luther King Jr.,” Hall said. “I’m very inspired by the stories he tells and I’ve learned a lot from him. Ashley Gurvitz [executive director of UNEC] took me under her wing and was sort of a protest mom for a lot of other activists.”

In a Facebook post for the rally local activists Kim Saylor and Mary Hayes Tuttle promoted the event as a way to bring several groups together and promote activism for Hoosiers of all ages. 

“We look forward to you joining us under one common goal of generational involvement in activism and the importance of being involved in an active working democracy that works towards a more perfect union for all of its citizenry,” the official Facebook page for the rally said.

While the deadline for registration has already passed, organizers for this rally still intend to make voting a focal point of the event — as they did during protests during the summer. At the end of the rally, members of the Women’s March will march to the City-County Building, where they will wait in line to vote. 

“I’ve learned so much about the power of coming together for change, and just how our community can come together and make a difference,” Hall said. “One of the protests I helped organize had 10,000 people show up. To see how many people care about this cause and our community, it means a lot.”

Contact staff writer Breanna Cooper at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @BreannaNCooper.

Youth Voices Matter rally

When: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 17

Where: Indiana State House, 200 W. Washington St. 

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