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Nearly 1,000 people protest peacefully in downtown Cumming

Protesters lined the streets in front of the Forsyth County Courthouse, calling for equality and justice.

CUMMING, Ga. — History was made on Saturday afternoon as a crowd of about 900 people filled the front lawn of the Forsyth County Courthouse. It was one of many peaceful protests taking place across the area this weekend.

“Forsyth County has a pretty serious history of racism, so we wanted to make sure we brought out our own community to support Black Lives Matter and just really in honor of George Floyd and all the lives that have been lost,” Candice Horsley said.

She, along with her boyfriend Daniel Billups, organized the event earlier this week.

“There were a lot of people who thought, ‘Hey, this may not be a good idea. There might be a lot of hate out there,’ but as soon as we started this event, there was an outpouring of good intentions from folks that are just out here wanting to help and show that what's in their heart is love,” Billups said. “I've had a good feeling from the start.”

A handful of local people had the opportunity to address the crowd, including Keisha Johnson who spoke about the challenges of being a woman of color in Cumming.

“I have lived in Forsyth County for 13 years,” she said. “I wish I could give you some good news and say that it's been great here, but we've been spending a lot of our time living here in Forsyth County and doing activities and everything else outside of Forsyth County, and there's a reason for that.”

She spoke about harassment from law enforcement and local people directing racial slurs to her and family.

“It’s challenging to live here in Forsyth County because I don't know who to trust,” she said. “I don't know if the person I'm walking past is going to spew hate at me or if they're going to smile. So I have to stay guarded.”

RELATED: Hundreds turn out at Forsyth County civil rights protest

She said she never expected to see so many people show up to support of the cause that she continues fighting for.

“There's a white Wakanda in Forsyth County and I had no idea, so this means a lot. These people out there mean a lot," Johnson said. "When I was preparing to speak, every time a new group of people came up, I was just shocked and amazed, and I was trying to hold it together.” 

“I didn't think they were going to come out and use their voices or listen to ours, so I can't say what I know for the future," she added. "But I know I'm not going to stop until we see the change that we've been speaking about in Forsyth County.”

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RELATED:

Forsyth County Democrats announce planned protest for Friday is canceled

Forsyth Co. Schools release preliminary guidelines for returning to school in the fall

'We stand for peace on both sides' | Prayer for Peace vigil set for Tuesday in Cumming

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