Dozens gather to peacefully protest racial injustice

Published: Jun. 1, 2020 at 5:42 PM EDT
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More than 50 people gathered in Paintsville for a black lives matter protest early Monday evening.

Organized by a former Paintsville High School Valedictorian and now Yale University students, the march was to shed light upon racial injustices.

"I didn't feel like I could sit here and not do anything. This country is facing a serious problem where black people are being targeted by the police and killed. Black People make up 24 percent of police murders but only 13 percent of the population, so clearly something is wrong," said event organizer Andra Faria.

Paintsville Mayor Bill Mike Runyon says that they are here to keep the peace and as long as it stays a peaceful protest as intended, there won't be any problems.

“I think the people taking part in it are going to be the big thing as long as they behave themselves and do the right thing and don’t try to destroy property and try to harm these downtown businesses everything will be fine my employees will be fine as long as they are," said Runyon.

Mayor Runyon says along with Paintsville Police, Kentucky State Police, Johnson Country sheriff's deputies and some Floyd County sheriff's deputies will all be on hand.

The protest was filled with signs and chants like 'I can't breathe' and 'hands up don't shoot.'

"Here in eastern Kentucky there is a stereotype that everyone's racist and everyone doesn't care and I think it's important to show everywhere around this country that people are caring and people are listening to black voices," said Faria.

Joining the protest was Katie Wells. Wells walked with the group while carrying a sign that read 'You don't know my story.'

"A lot of the stuff I've been seeing online is people trying to pretend that they know the black experience and gaslight the black experience but you can't understand it," said Wells.

Wells encouraged people to read black literature to understand the struggle Black Americans endure.

"You don't want to be angry about it and being like silent about it and pretending that it doesn't bother you so you have to speak up and I decided this was probably the best way," added Well.

All those participating hoping that their example of a peaceful protest can echo across the country that shedding light on injustice does not have to be a violent act, and all can take part in the larger message.