ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — As protest against racial injustice and police brutality continue across the stateline area following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, leaders from the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus urged demonstrations to remain peaceful.
“We want the looting to stop because we know love overcomes all things,” said Rep. Marcus Evans, Jr. (D-33rd). “And fighting and pushing each other is not going to solve the problems that we need to solve. We must push to change policy. We want police to be accountable just like I’m accountable. That’s all we’re asking. We support our police, but we want them accountable when they cross the line.”
On Friday, Black Lives Matter protesters in Beloit took a knee on S. Riverside Drive and observed a 8 minute and 45 second moment of silence for Floyd.
Protest organizer Yusuf Adama said he believes peaceful protest can lead to societal change.
“It does feel really good, to know that we have momentum right now, and we have people that are going to try to hold our elected officials accountable,” he said.
Earlier in the week, during another Beloit demonstration, Beloit Police Chief David Zibolski took a knee with protesters in solidarity with their cause.
Adama says that was a good first step, but more work needs to be done.
“I think it was a good thing, but I don’t know if it was a decisive thing, yet. And that’s what I want to see,” he said. “My hope is that the people who are good, who are also cops, want reform more than anyone, and I want to hear them voice that.”
Rep. Maurice West (D-67th) and other members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus said the next step is to work on legislation that benefits the black community.
“The tide is changing. This massive ship of injustice and inequality is turning. It’s no secret that it will take time to fully move in the right direction, but we are committed to doing what must be done through strong policies, raw and vulnerable conversations, and strengthening the foundation that unites us,” West said.
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