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'You will not break my spirit': UK community rallies around student assaulted in racist incident on campus

UK student Kylah Spring spoke to hundreds at a rally Monday with tears streaming down her face, to share her reaction to a racially-charged assault Sunday.

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Familiar chants echoed through the University of Kentucky's campus Monday night. 

"What do we want?" students asked as they weaved their way through campus. "Justice," hundreds of people answered.

The rally cried "protect Black women," and "say her name." This time, the name chanted back was that of Kylah Spring.

As students completed their march and gathered in a circle as one student came forward. "My name is Kylah Spring," she commanded to the crowd.

Spring is a freshman in her first semester at the University of Kentucky. She was working the front desk of Boyd Hall early Sunday when a white student, Sophia Rosing of northern Kentucky, repeatedly tried to hit her and used racial slurs

"This is a recurring issue in and around American school systems no matter what age," Spring said. "I am deeply saddened by the events that took place, but I am most grateful for justice that is to come and to Miss Rosing. You will not break my spirit."

Rosing was charged with intoxication in a public place, assault, assault of a police officer, and disorderly conduct.

At the march Monday, Kylah's parents marched by her side and thanked the crowd for their support. "But do not let it stop here," Kylah's mother said. "It is uncomfortable to sit in silence and watch and feel helpless but it is more uncomfortable to watch it happen again and again and again."

Phillip Foster helped to organize the rally and march. He said it was important to open communication between students and the university. 

"We just want to make sure the university can hear students' voices and how we can change the culture here at the University of Kentucky," Foster said. 

After a speech from Kylah Spring, students and supporters were offered time to describe their own experiences with racism. 

One student grabbed the megaphone. "I just want to say the University of Kentucky has reacted very poorly," he said. "All I've seen is that she got arrested and she has a couple of charges. She is still a student at UK." 

Kylah Spring's mother ended the roundtable-style discussion with this, "We are thankful, we are grateful for you. But we charge you to not just let this be a moment. Let this be a movement." 

The university condemned what happened on Sunday and said the office of student conduct immediately began a disciplinary review. 

 Contact reporter Tom Lally at TLally@whas11.com or on Facebook or Twitter.

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