Columbus rally on Independence Day continues fight to end racism

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — While Saturday is a day of celebrating for some, it’s a day of demonstrating for others.

Demonstrations for Black Lives Matter and against police brutality have been happening for weeks in downtown Columbus, and some want that momentum to continue on July 4th. 

Saturday’s rally, the Freedom for Black Lives Rally and March, was held at Goodale Park.

One of the organizers of the rally, Kiara Yakita, has been downtown for many of the protests, but she said Saturday’s event is meant to be a change in pace. 

It started off with some yoga at the park. There are some vendors, too.

And music.

“If you listen to live music, you know when something magical happens,” said violinist Kevin Hagans.

He said that magical moment happened in the middle of High Street as he was joining protesters and other violinists in playing, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.”

“A tremendous amount of emotion, you can’t even really put into the microphone right now,” Hagans said.

Yakita understands many people celebrate Independence Day and she’s encouraging that, but she wanted to give people a chance to keep going with the movement that’s been going on for more than a month. 

There’s also significance to having the event on July 4th.

Yakita said this is a day that represents freedom and independence in the middle of a movement for freedom and independence for Black people. 

“We’re still fighting for full freedom for black people in this country,” she said. “Even though we are technically free-ish from slavery, we still don’t have full freedom. We still get in trouble for things other races may not. We are under a magnifying glass. We face harder scrutiny than other people just because of who we are.”

The rally started with some speeches, then marched through the downtown area, before returning to the park for other events.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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