EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Community members staged a peaceful protest in front of Elevate Trampoline Park Thursday evening.
About 20-30 people stood in front of the facility, picketing with “Black Lives Matter” and “Stop Elevating Racism” signs.
Protesters said the demonstration is in direct response to an incident from last Saturday night where a group of teens said they were celebrating a birthday party when someone from another group of teens called them a racial slur.
One of the four teens’ mothers said they tried to address the issue with staff Saturday night, but said they were told since the teens who used the racial slurs were partially black themselves, it wasn’t an issue.
Kim Rippel, one of Thursday’s protest organizers, said they came out to show the girls at the center of the incident that they have the community’s support.
“We’re really here today just to come out and show the families and the girls especially that we’re involved,” Rippel said. “That the community does still care even if they may not be getting the answers that they want from the establishment that we as a community are still going to be here and we’re going to make sure that their message is being heard.”
Liz Wilson, the owner of Elevate Trampoline Park, issued a public apology on Facebook, Wednesday, apologizing to the affected families.
“These issues escalated and resulted in much hurt, pain, misunderstanding, and confusion for many,” Wilson said. “This was an isolated incident and Elevate does not condone any form of racism. We are committed to being part of the solution to find common ground and work together to heal our community.”
Wilson said they’re not finished with their investigation, but if they find out that a staff member did violate their no-tolerance policy, they will take immediate disciplinary action. She said they are planning to hold a Cultural Diversity night in the future.
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