What started out as five young men holding signs and talking with residents in downtown Kaufman grew to a march of about a dozen people down Washington Street and back on Wednesday night.

The original group said they plan to be back at the square at 6 p.m. Thursday to continue advocating for racial equality. As many as 20 people gathered on the square throughout Wednesday evening.

Kaufman Police reported no arrests or incidents during the protest.

“We couldn’t ignore what was happening,” said Juan Pedroza, referring to protests around the country calling for an end to racial injustice following the deaths of black people while in police custody. “We received a lot of positive feedback.”

There were a few people who drove by the marchers and blew clouds of black smoke from their diesel engines, but more drivers honked and waved instead.

Trey Mason said he joined the protest to advocate for diversity and the importance of respecting all people.

“It just kind of spoke to me,” he said of the recent protests, many of which have turned violent in larger cities.

That is not the goal of the Kaufman events, the organizers said.

“That was our biggest concern, that it would get out of hand,” Pedroza said. Instead, the protesters shared bottles of water with people who came to talk with them, including police officers.

There were several police and constables who observed the protest, and they also talked with the protesters, said Dana Whitaker, Kaufman Chief of Police.

“They thanked us for protecting them and making sure they were safe,” Whitaker said.

Kari Rough, owner of the Charter Room, and her staff and friends came by her business, which is across the street from the courthouse, to watch the protest. She was pleased the event remained peaceful, as well.

There have been calls on social media for protests at 6 p.m. Friday, June 5 in Forney, as well as in downtown Athens.

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