West Louisville leaders to protest Pegasus Parade, create their - WDRB 41 Louisville News

West Louisville leaders to protest Pegasus Parade, create their own

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Kentucky Derby Pegasus Parade attracts roughly thousands of people from across the country, but this year, the event is at the center of controversy and racial tension.

West Louisville leaders gathered Thursday after they say 400 minorities were rejected from this year's parade. One of those groups is the Kentucky Step and Dance Team. Kentucky Derby Festival officials told us last week the group was denied access because of compliance issues. 

"One year, they applied for 300 participants, and they showed up with 500 participants," said Marita Willis, President of the Kentucky Derby Festival. "This year, they applied with 900 participants, and no telling how many they would show up with." 

KDF also said it accepted applications from other step and dance teams for this year's parade, including groups from West Louisville.

But Ray Barker, a member of the West Louisville Urban Coalition, said he heard from several rejected teams in west Louisville and wanted to do something about it.

"If they don't want these 400 kids in their parade, then let’s create a new parade, a new tradition, where their feelings will never be hurt again," said Barker.

The groups came up with the ‘Kentucky's Love and Peace Heritage Parade’ in an effort to promote diversity and inclusion. The parade would take place on Derby Day in West Louisville and 20 groups from across the region have already signed up to register.

But that's not all: Inspired by Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performance, the denied teams have now come together as one group, calling themselves "Formation." They're planning a protest performance at the Kentucky Derby Festival headquarters on March 21 at 6 p.m., and another performance near the Kentucky Derby Pegasus Parade on May 5.

In a written statement, a KDF spokesperson says, in part:  "We are saddened by the fact that the oldest event of the Kentucky Derby Festival is being used for divisive purposes."

"Man, to hell with that parade,” said west Louisville activist Jerald Muhammad. "We do our own parade. They don't want to be embarrassed. This is national news."

West Louisville leaders have requested a permit from the city to host the parade.

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