Credit: Raye Weigel

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Dozens of tiny feet marched determinedly along the crosswalk at 12th and U streets NW during Sunday’s sweltering afternoon. Unlike many demonstrations happening across the country as part of the Black Lives Matter movement, this protest focused on children under the age of seven.

They chanted “my life matters, now and later” as they walked down the street holding signs with phrases such as “stay woke” and “it’s my country too.”

Some were in strollers, while others walked along holding balloons and handmade signs.

Credit: Raye Weigel

Hillary Ferguson, 40, organized the protest, dubbed the “Munchkin March.” She made clear that it did not take a side between the Blue Lives Matter and Black Lives Matter movements. 

“We are in full support of the police, and we have been in contact with them,” Ferguson said. “They’ve been very supportive of our efforts and are here to help us.” Two police cars followed the march of about 30 people, including more than 15 children, protecting the chanting kids from traffic.

As she stood on a street corner, speaking to the parents and children gathered around her, Ferguson made their purpose clear. “We’re asking for everyone to make sure that it’s not just us having a talk with our children about what to do when police stop us, but everyone needs to have a talk with their child about being empathetic and understanding of what people have gone through in this nation and why they are in the condition they are in.”

The march proceeded down U Street for six blocks and ended in a small park where protesters glistening with sweat could cool off in a fountain and enjoy frozen treats.

Gannet Purcell, 42, is a D.C. resident with an 8-year-old daughter. Purcell said if her daughter could learn one lesson from Sunday’s protest, it would be that “it’s never too early to be active in the fight for human rights.”