Newton resident Jayda Patterson made a simple request as people gathered in front of the Newton Police Department.
"I want to see change," she said. "I want the police to recognize us as people -- not by our color."
Patterson was one of the first to arrive at the planned protest sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minnesota.
Maiden High School senior Gabby Markwalder came to Newton with three classmates.
"I just want to make a change," she said.
Newton Police Chief Vidal Sipe said he was concerned about outside participation in the event, noting "our community is a good community."
He said the police department will remain open during the protest.
The protest began at noon.
Get Government & Politics updates in your inbox!
Stay up-to-date on the latest in local and national government and political topics with our newsletter.