Child at protest

Matt Jones | The Daily Independent A child holds up a anti-racist sign before the start of Sunday's March for Justice in Ashland.

A young face behind a cell phone screen is a common sight in 2020, but this little girl wasn’t watching YouTube or liking TikTok performances.

This little girl was witnessing an important scene unfold and capturing history on video.

She saw a group of about 150 people convene in Ashland and march for justice. She heard the chants — “no justice, no peace” and “black lives matter” among them. She felt the 85-degree heat but wasn’t crying or complaining.

The little girl knelt down on the city building parking lot pavement and held up an iPhone to record peaceful protesters lay on the hot street and sidewalk between the 17th and 18th blocks in Ashland. They demonstrated in honor of George Floyd for eight minutes and 46 seconds. That’s how long he was pinned under the knee of police officer Derek Chauvin, hands behind his back, in Minneapolis while saying “I can’t breathe” and dying a senseless death.

This young mind will hopefully always remember the event that featured unity in our community, and became a picture of how to properly protest. She saw people of diverse backgrounds meet with one central goal: Peace.

Of the folks who appeared under the Ashland bridges, several families were present.

Parents and guardians deciding to bring kids along to the “March for Justice” was refreshing to see. While the children there may have not totally grasped the event’s purpose, it undoubtedly made a positive impact.

First responders and city officials supported the event. They saw that.

They heard the voices of several 18- to 25-year-olds who exercised their First Amendment rights with enthusiasm and passion. They addressed topics of voting, equality and eliminating police brutality. Even if the youngsters there with their families didn’t understand every word, they surely absorbed enough.

These young eyes will see a lot of hate and cruelty in this world. They saw the exact opposite on Sunday afternoon in Ashland.

Reach AARON SNYDER at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664. Follow @ashlandkydaily on Twitter.

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