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Your Voice: Readers tell us why they wanted to attend a Black Lives Matter protest, what they learned

This past week, while protests popped up across northern Illinois, set off by the May 25 death of 46-year-old black man George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody, we asked readers to share their thoughts on the importance of these protests.

We asked our readers three questions:

1. Why did you feel it was important to attend a Black Lives Matter protest?

2. What, if anything, did you learn from attending a Black Lives Matter protest?

3. What will you take away, if anything, that you will use going forward from attending a Black Lives Matter protest?

If you didn’t get the chance to respond, you still can at http://shawurl.com/protestquestions and we may do a follow up as protests continue across the region.

Here is a sampling of what our readers had to say:

Question 1: Why did you feel it was important to attend a Black Lives Matter protest?

Monet Lindstrand of Crystal Lake: “These past few days have been challenging. Racism in our country is a tough topic, and it’s hard to know how to help or how to be an ally and whether the people posting on social media are even being genuine. And as a white person i find myself trying to figure out what I can do that isn’t disingenuous or even harmful. That’s one of the main reason I’ve gone to two protests. Because one of the “events” at both of these protests was time for the black members of our community to stand up and discuss their experiences. I knew that it was important for me to hear these stories so that I could truly understand what [people of color] go through everyday.”

Lindsey Rimes of Tonica: “I knew my grandmother attended protests during the Civil Rights Movement in the ‘60s as well as others in my family. I felt it in my soul to go out and march with my brothers and sisters. I also knew that this was an experience that I needed emotionally. I was struggling terribly for quite some time and I needed to get my voice and my passion out into the world. I needed to do it for myself, my family and my brothers and sisters across the country and world.”

Aaron of DeKalb: “To force police departments to root out racism, raise their standards and abide by them, and stop brutalizing and murdering people. Also to uplift and inspire people who are grieving and hurting because of racism in this country.”

Question 2: What, if anything, did you learn from attending a Black Lives Matter protest?

Leah Leman of Batavia: “The world is bigger than me. There are brothers and sisters of all ethnicity, languages, backgrounds who live on the same planet, breathe the same air, and wake up to the same rising sun.

Christina of Crystal Lake: “I learned there are a lot of amazing people in our community, I was grateful and appreciative of the conversations I had with others there. That gives me hope.”

Nicole Reeland of Peru: “I learned that a lot of people are actually against protesting. There were so many rude comments and I couldn’t believe the amount of racism that still exists, especially in my home town.”

Question 3: What will you take away, if anything, that you will use going forward from attending a Black Lives Matter protest?

Carolyn Morris of DeKalb (Ward 1 Alderman): “I was able to gather action items from a friend while there. I’ll reach out to the community and see if they think they’re a good start. They’re items we can implement as a city, very quickly.”

Anna Kaye-Rodgers of La Salle: “That local people do care, and that this is just a start, and we will continue protesting until there is justice.”

Lainey M. of Ottawa: “White people need to do more. We need to force the change. Systemic failure of the whole system hurts everyone but it kills black and brown people.”

Lindsey Rimes of Tonica: “Going forward, I feel stronger and my voice feels more powerful. After marching for the human and civil rights of myself and my brothers and sisters, I will be forever changed. When you get on that street and realize that you are shouting and crying for your life to be valued the same as those around you, something changes within you. You feel your soul ignited with passion and it is that passion that will help me survive this life.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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