Dozens of Broken Arrow families rallied together Saturday for a kid-friendly protest organized by a seven-year-old for peace and kindness. This gathering is one of the hundreds of similar events being held across the country over the past few weeks in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Saturday’s “Small And Mighty” protest for peace was arranged by seven-year-old Ailey who says people her age have something to say just like adults.
Ailey organized the event all by herself with very little help from any adults. She says she decided to put the rally together after seeing the violence that was done after protests in Brookside in weeks prior. She saw the vandalism and she said it made her sad, so she wanted to hold her own peaceful rally for kids.
Kjersti McBride, Ailey’s mom, says she thought she could hide the bad news from her daughter, but ended up realizing she can’t shield her from bad things forever.
“The first thing she saw was Brookside before I could blink, she had her clothes and boots on and said, “let’s go”. I asked why and she said because “I can’t make a difference sitting on the couch mom,’ McBride says.
Ailey then told her mom she wanted to hold her own rally for peace.
“She thought I just wanted to have a couple of my baby dolls and friends,” Ailey says.
It turns out McBride had thought wrong. Ailey says she was on a mission to make a difference, even though she is small.
“Then she asked to Google something, next thing I knew she found the mayor’s number,” McBride says. “Then I hear “hi I’m Ailey, I’m seven, I live in Broken Arrow, and I need to make an appointment with the mayor.”
In the net days leading up to the protest scheduled for Saturday, Ailey had set up meetings with city officials and Broken Arrow Mayor Craig Thurmond to make sure she could secure a venue, block off the streets for safety during their march, and get a speaker for the event.
“She’s a sweet, cute, little girl who wants to make a difference in her community, it’s great at that age to think about that,” says Thurmond.
The “Small and Mighty” rally brought in dozens of kids and families hoping for a change in the next generation. There were several speakers from the community, a march for peace around two blocks of Broken Arrow’s Rose District, and a community art project that will be donated to the local art museum.
Ailey says her goal was to leave behind kind words for people to enjoy, not broken windows and shattered glass.
McBride says Ailey wants to continue to make a difference in her community throughout the summer and more as often as she can. If your family is interested in helping, you can find her “Small and Mighty” page on Facebook for updates on events or to send Ailey a message.