A crowd numbering in the thousands marched peacefully down Ada’s Main Street Friday in a Black Lives Matter protest, during which, not a single incident of violence was reported.
The march — organized by Is’Abella Miller, 18, of Ada; Christain Teel, 16, of Byng; Delanie Seals, 18, of Ada; Jasmine Laine, 18, of Ada; and Sha’Von Harrison, 19, of Ada — began in front of the depot at W. Main Street and S. Stockton Ave. in Ada. Protesters walked down the middle of Main Street carrying signs and alternating between chants of “I can’t breathe” and “Black Lives Matter,” among others. Pontotoc County Sheriff’s deputies closed Main Street from Stockton to Mississippi to provide a safe path for protesters to travel.
Protesters traveled the Main Street route in groups, stopping at various points along the way to alleviate the heat with free water provided by the East Central University Alumni Association and other groups. The march ended in a grassy area between Ada City Hall and the Ada Police Department, where a microphone was passed among the crowd to give participants an opportunity to speak. Participants knelt in silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into the neck of George Floyd, who later died in police custody May 25.
East Central University, Ada City Schools, The Chickasaw Nation, members of the Ada Police Department and Pontotoc County Sheriff John Christian all issued statements supporting the event, each saying they hoped the march represented a shift towards a better future for Ada and for the nation. In an act of solidarity, Ada Police Chief Carl Allen and Pontotoc County Sheriff John Christian joined participants in the march. Numerous local businesses closed early Friday so their employees could participate in the march, some posting signs and painting their storefront windows in a show of support.
Organizers say the march is an important first step toward equality and a brighter future for everyone.
Look for expanded coverage of the march, including video footage and additional photos, at www.theadanews.com and in Tuesday’s print edition of The Ada News.