Protest at Diocese of Covington shows both sides coming together

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - During a protest held at the Diocese of Covington, confrontation turned into reconciliation when two men decided to come together after several videos were shared of an incident involving Covington Catholic students in Washington, D.C.

Two men on opposite sides of the issue were seen shaking hands, exchanging phone numbers and agreeing to “come together” to talk about their differences.

The initial video showed the now-self identified Nick Sandmann, a junior at CovCath, standing in front of Nathan Phillips, an indigenous man who was participating in the Indigenous Peoples March.

However, more videos continue to surface.

They originally planned to be outside of Covington Catholic High school for their protest, but the The American Indian Movement Chapter of Indiana and Kentucky said it understands the concerns about showing up outside the school itself.

“Our concern is the adults - we want to hold the administration, teachers and seemingly absent chaperones accountable in this situation,” AIM said in a Facebook post.

Covington Catholic High School closed Tuesday over security concerns, according to school officials.

Co-Chair of Indiana and Kentucky Chapter of the American Indian Movement Thomas Pearce said they are calling for the Diocese of Covington to discuss curriculum changes.

“We’re going to call for the Archdiocese in Covington to adopt policies of curriculum changes that will educate the students about the history of… between Catholics and American Indians,” he said.

The group also addresses the viral video of the incident involving CovCath students and Nathan Phillips at a weekend march in Washington, D.C.

COLLECTION: Videos of incident involving CovCath students at D.C. march

“We have seen the entire hour and forty six minute video and stand by Nathan Phillips. While this longer video gives better context to the situation, it still does not absolve those boys of their behavior,” AIM said.

The Facebook post continues, “Nathan Phillips is a respected elder. He stepped in to what he saw was a tense situation between the Black Hebrew Israelites, who were yelling harmful things at Natives and the school group, and the school group who were becoming increasingly worked up.”

The post goes on to say that even if the students did not create the initial situation, their behavior is still a problem.

The Greater Cincinnati Native American Coalition shared this statement Monday night:

“The Greater Cincinnati Native Community is calling upon the Diocese of Covington to meet with us. In the spirit of transparency we feel it is necessary to have a conversation where we are able to air our concerns and ask questions about the events that occurred in Washington DC on Friday, January 18th. We are asking for a seat at the table as they begin to look in to resolution and lasting solutions for the lack of respect shown by their students to our elders. These events have put a national spotlight on us and because of this we deserve space to have this conversation for only then can reconciliation begin.”

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