Heads were turning on Wednesday, June 17 when a small group of people formed outside of the Franklin County Courthouse to show their support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Protest organizer Taya Abbott, donning a “be nice” t-shirt, held a sign reading Black Lives Matter which she held up to those driving and passing by.

“I thought it would be just me,” said Abbott.

Abbott organized the peaceful rally, but did not plan to publicize it as she didn't want a counter protest to show. Abbott said she wanted the rally to be simple, quiet and positive. There were no marches or chants, just a group of seven individuals holding signs in solidarity.

Abbott, the daughter of a police officer, released a statement in conjunction to why she felt the need to have this small gathering, “I'm tired of Blue States and Red States and cities vs. rural America. We are one America. The right to have differing opinions is what makes our country strong. I know there are people in Franklin County and other rural communities that support the Black Lives Matter movement, but are hesitant to admit it. I just want them to know they are not alone. I decided to have a protest after the killing of Rayshard Brooks at the Atlanta Wendy's. I thought, what would my dad have done? I grew up in a small, white town in Northern Indiana. My dad was a police officer, and also a racist. But I know, in my heart, my dad would have allowed Rayshard Brooks to leave his car and walk to his sister's house. Mr. Brooks has been polite and respectful with the police. He just wanted to go to his daughter's birthday party the next day. He didn't deserve to be shot.”

Another protester shared her thoughts aloud. 

“So, I ponder, show me the character and not the color of your skin, show me your character before showing me your activism, show me your character and not your uniform, show me your character and not your political party, show me your character.”

She ended her statement citing John 13:34, which states “Love one another as I have loved you.”

The only male protester in the group also shared his statement on why he felt the need to participate. 

“I am concerned that people who live in a community with few or no minorities, though they may be empathetic toward the plight of minorities, feel that discrimination, and intolerance does not exist in 'our community,' so why make it an issue. Do not stir the pot, stay in our comfort zone. There will also be those who counter the BLM concern with 'all lives matter' or 'blue lives matter.' There is no argument there! However, Blacks are at the focus at this moment simply because they feel the pain of centuries of bigotry, racism and discrimination!”

The protest garnered mixed emotions from those passing by. Some honking and giving thumbs up in support while others shouted profanities and slurs or made rude gestures. One car even stopped with a Native American woman explaining that she had also faced discrimination.

Abbott added that she felt it was important for the people of Brookville to know they could voice their opinions as well. The protest wrapped up around 10 a.m.