ELMWOOD, Ill. (WMBD) — The on-going cycle of racism can’t be broken until people are bold enough to start the conversation.
And as we look to what comes next for race relations in Central Illinois, race, from all backgrounds, are now entering the dialogue, working to address racism in our society. One Black man from the predominately white town of Elmwood is hoping to spark that change.
“Why would you not want to show people in the world that you stand with people who are oppressed? That you stand with people who don’t have the rights you do. Why would you not want this in your town,” Brandon Butler said in his July 19 Black Lives Matter Speech.
In Elmwood, neighbors know Bulter as a high school football and basketball coach, but now, he’s inspired to teach off the field.
In June, he created ‘Brandon’s Black History’ a weekly video class that welcomes conversations about racism.
“There’s a lot of history that if people learn it then they might understand where the frustration and where the anger is coming from,” he said.
The class averaging about 30 people every week from around the country.
“And they might also understand like, ‘hey this has been happening forever and maybe I need to change sides and we need to start changing this,’” Butler said.
Butler spent most of his life in Elmwood, being one of three black families. And after the recent deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmuad Abrey, and George Floyd, he was motivated to promote connectivity between Black and white communities.
“I had to open up. Even though it’s hard, you gotta open up and tell them your story,” he said. “You have to talk about racism to fix it.”
Butler said in order to understand the struggle Black Americans face, you have to start with education.
The talk about race is an uncomfortable but necessary conversation. Butler said the time is now to get involved and become allies so you can become apart of the change.