PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD)–Thousands of protesters in Peoria took to the streets today to make their voices heard, asking for an end to police brutality. And remembering the life of George Floyd and other minorities of gun violence and police brutality.
“This needs to not be an issue,” said protester, Jennifer Bernhard.
Protesters holding signs, asking for change and for police to stop the killing of innocent minorities.
“Anytime we have a chance to save our people, I’m going be out here,” said protester, Allexia Foote.
Allexia Foote, an African-American woman whom has seven brothers she says incidents like the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis hit home.
“My brother was in the same predicament; he was attacked by two officers, one Mexican, one white at the age of 12. They were grown men, one had their knee in his back,” Foote said.
Crowds began the march at the Gateway Building on Water Street to the Peoria Police Department and finished their route at the Peoria County Courthouse. Calling out what they say is decades of unfair treatment to African Americans and other minorities in the criminal justice system and United States.
“You could see and feel the anger in the people and that’s what everyone better understand,” said a male protster.
“It shouldn’t have to be because of a person’s death that we’re out here,” said protester, Kristen Meierkord.
Organizers and demonstrators say they are remembering the life of George Floyd, but it’s about changing what they say is decades worth of racism towards minorities and people of color.
“This racism is systematic and people are dying everyday from this and it really needs to stop,” Meierkord said.
“We’ve been fed up, we’re tired,” Foote said.
Protests were kept peaceful and featured a diverse crowd and of all ages.
“I’m really proud of Peoria right now, there was no way I was going miss today, but we definitely need to do this more often,” Meierkord said.
“This is the biggest thing I’ve seen in Peoria. I’m really proud of my city,” Bernhard said.
“Protect, love, unite and let’s grow together,” Foote said.
Other protesters also told WMBD they’ve never seen this large of crowd in their lifetime in Peoria and Saturday’s gathering was the largest they’ve ever seen.