ASHLAND — Whether it’s pouring down rain like it was Thursday afternoon, or a blazing 80-plus degrees and sunny, Keon Singleton said he’ll be protesting along Main Street in downtown Ashland every day until justice is served — not only for George Floyd, but for every black person who has died or otherwise suffered from police brutality.
The Ashland University football player and father of two young boys began protesting alone in downtown Ashland Thursday. He was joined by a few that afternoon. But after Singleton issued a plea for the community to join him, more than 50 showed up Friday afternoon.
"I love every single person who supports this movement in the Ashland community. I have never been more proud of the Ashland community,” Singleton said. "I’ve never been more proud of these people, and I love them from the bottom of my heart.”
GALLERY: Black Lives Matter Protest in Ashland
More than 50 individuals marched along downtown Ashland's Main Street Friday, June 5 in a protest organized by Ashland resident and Ashland University student Keon Singleton.
Singleton began protesting yesterday and asked the community to join him daily from 1 to 3 p.m. in protesting against police brutality and racism.
Story to follow. Photos by Tracy Leturgey.
As he led a crowd up and down Main Street from Claremont and Cleveland Avenue, Singleton held up a sign reading, “If you were my color would you want to raise kids in this system we live in today? Didn’t think so. Black Lives Matter.”
Others marched with signs bearing Floyd’s name and messages like “I can’t breathe” and “No justice, no peace.”
Amireanna Williams, 14, held a sign reading, “My skin is not a threat.”
“I always wonder, am I next?” she said.
Williams walked with her sister Tyianna Williams, 13, and a friend.
Though young, the girls are upset by events like the one that unfolded in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. Floyd, 46, died after a white police officer knelt on his neck. That officer has been charged with murder.
“It’s scary to see these things, to know when you walk outside people can hate you for the way you look,” Tyianna Williams said.
They thanked the Ashland community for participating in the Friday protest.
“I’m happy that you guys see us. Even though you know you can’t understand exactly,” Tyianna Williams said. "You see what’s going on though, and that means a lot to us.”
Also participating in Friday’s procession was Ashland resident Heather Sample and her step-daughter Kaylee Sample, 22.
Kaylee Sample held up a sign with numerous names of black men and women affected by police brutality.
"What brought me out here is all the injustice in the system. Of all these lives — like my sign says — most of them have not got the justice they deserve,” she said.
Singleton said he intends to continue daily peaceful protests from 1 to 3 p.m. in downtown Ashland.
"I’m coming out until we receive justice. Until every single black person who is a victim of police brutality is justified, and every police officer is convicted, as well as when racism stops, and this evolution starts,” Singleton said.
As he paced up and down Main Street, he and his roommate at the front of the group shouted, “If all lives mattered we would not protest. Black lives matter.”