Peaceful protest hits Columbia County amid nation-wide outcry for justice

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EVANS, Ga. (WJBF) – People demonstrating in Columbia County raised their voices against racial inequalities throughout the country from Lady Antebellum Pavilion in Evans Towne Center Park.

It comes after a weekend of everything from peaceful marchers to riots from coast to coast. Some moments happened in the CSRA too.  

The diverse group met following the in police custody death of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis. Former officer Derek Chauvin has been arrested and charged.

“George Floyd cried out to his mama!  And when he cried out, he cried out to all of us mamas,” one woman shouted from the microphone during a reflection moment at the park.

Communities are outraged and angry as seen by people heading to the streets of major cities from coast to coast. The CSRA met to send its message on racial injustice and equality in a big way.

“We are not different from any skin color,” another woman said who stated she substitute teaches in the area. “We have the same red blood. You feel me?”

While a wave of universal love filled the air at the park along with signs urging for racism to end, so did the candid conversation about what it’s like to live with a darker skin tone.

Joseph Washington III, who shared he is too an educator, said, “You have to understand what it means to be black in this here America. You got to understand what it is to be black in Augusta.  You have to understand how I feel, how I really feel.  Do you understand what it’s like to die in the middle of the street?”

Protesters left Lady A and marched to one of the busiest streets in the CSRA, Washington Road.  While chanting ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘No Justice No Peace’ in one lane, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office deputies kept walkers safe from traffic.

“I thought that was very impactful.  It speaks to the fact that we have support all around us,” said Mykayla Williamson, of Augusta. “It speaks to the fact that numbers give power. It speaks to the fact that we have influence and when we speak, people listen and that is how change is made.”

And support was there. One driver stopped his vehicle on Washington Road and took a knee.

We asked, “Sir, what made you get out of your car and take a knee?”

“I sympathize with y’all,” he replied.

And among the diverse group, were those who may not be African American, but understand the struggle.

“People don’t look at me, they don’t look at me twice,” said LeAnna Woodward, of Evans.  “I can walk out of a store with nothing in my hands and just browse and leave and nobody questions it.  It’s really frustrating.”

Watch the complete demonstration here.

Evans resident Brian Waller showed up with his daughter and his nephew. He said he looks forward to seeing more demonstrations.

“Let’s go to North Augusta. Let’s go to South Carolina.  The sky is the limit.”

Many people echoed Waller’s hope, that this is not the end and that there needs to be other demonstrations in other places.  

The protest was organized by Street Justice leader Ray Montana, who also put together Sunday’s demonstration at Hooters in Augusta. Curtis Pickard helped organize as well.

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