ARCANUM — A local woman was in Columbus Monday to protest against the state’s continuing lockdown of businesses due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Amber Johnson, 34, a photographer from Arcanum, was joined by her husband, Dusty, and their two children, to participate in protests at the Ohio Statehouse, joining with a number of people who feel the continuing business closures are doing more harm than good.
Johnson said she and her family were motivated to be there because of their concerns regarding government overreach.
“We feel our constitutional rights are being taken from us,” she said. “The government has over-stepped and this must be questioned. It is our right and responsibility to question.”
Protesters at the event carried signs featuring a number of messages, including calls for Gov. Mike DeWine to resign and for the state to “Open Ohio.”
Johnson said she feels Americans are not getting accurate information from the government or the media.
“There is a lot of misinformation out there, much of which has no real facts or data to follow up. Much of what we know does not add up,” she said. “It is too soon to know everything about the numbers. Only time will tell.”
“Simply put, the rules and laws that are being implemented are unconstitutional with little or any regards to our rights,” she added. “We cannot trade our freedom for our safety.”
Asked what she would say to those who feel it is too soon to reopen businesses, Johnson said businesses should not have been shut down in the first place.
“It is the business’ owners choice whether they feel that that action should be taken. Our country relies on all businesses to function properly,” she said. “Specifically, our community heavily relies on our small businesses which are struggling to survive. We are watching many lose their livelihoods for good.”
Johnson has seen her own livelihood affected by the shutdown.
“Like many other professions, photographers are considered non-essential. All of my clients have had to postpone and/or cancel all sessions,” she said.
Johnson added, “The photography industry has been hit very hard in general due to this shut down. I know many who may be closing their doors for good. As hard as this is on our photography community, I feel more sadness for those who will not get to have their graduations, weddings and those once-in-a-lifetime moments.”
Reports on the number of those protesting at the capitol varied. The Associated Press reported approximately 200 people, while Johnson said she believed more than 500 or 600 people were there. Regardless of the numbers, she said the experience was a positive, and peaceful, one.
“The police officers were supportive of our presence. Some were even smiling and waving. We felt safe the entire time,” she said.
Johnson said while she may continue to protest if she feels it is necessary, she and her family remain well aware of the human cost of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“I want to say our hearts and prayers go out to all of the families who have lost anyone due to this virus,” she said.