‘We’re just here to come together’: Protesters gather for first Kingsport protest after death of George Floyd

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KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL)- Around a hundred people gathered at Centennial Park Sunday for the city’s first official protest in Kingsport after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

A large crowd repeated his name during the event as they shared stories of racial inequality.

“We’re all frustrated, we’re all disgusted about what’s been going on not only in our country between law enforcement and historically black people,” said the pastor of Great Life Church of Kingsport, Barry Braan.

Protest organizers made sure law enforcement was aware of the event.

“We reached out to the police department and wanted to make sure we were okay to be down here, there was going to be no issues so forth and so on. I wanted to make sure that everybody had an idea of what it is we wanted to do,” said Braan.

The event started off with a prayer, then several speakers voiced their opinions and shared a message of equality.

“At the end of the day, love is the answer. We’re not here to point the finger. We’re not here to cause any more discourse or division in the community. We’re just here to come together,” said Keira Moore, Redemptive Life Foundation Founder.

Kingsport residents said they just want their voices to be heard.

“When it comes to the police department and people of color, we need to sit down and have a conversation. It’s important for us to do that so we can learn about each other,” said Johanna Milton.

She and her husband Darin Milton came to the event to show solidarity.

“I support my husband and all black people throughout the world. I’m all races. We all need to come together, and I’m just grateful to be able to have this opportunity,” said Johanna.

“Worldwide, I think it’s time for a change. You know it’s been going on for a long time and enough is enough,” said Darin.

Even though there were a few people who tried to distract from the event, the overall message was clear.

“I really don’t believe that we have the same type of issues that we have in other places around the country, but if we’re not careful I don’t know how far away we are from it at the same time. So we’re just making sure we stay on the right side of this thing,” said Barry Braan.

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