Over 500 people rallied in Kewanee for a peaceful protest and march in wake of the tragic death of George Floyd. The event started at City Hall and ended at the baseball fields inside of Northeast Park. One protester tells Local Four News that they wanted to raise awareness for police brutality.
“I wanted to hear his name. I wanted everyone to be able to… that’s had any sort of harassment, police brutality. I wanted them to say his name as far as hear us out. We’re calling, we need you all to pay attention. It’s either going to end with you guys hearing us out or us physically showing we want to be heard.”
The city of Kewanee was in support of the march. The police force and mayor took part and walked with them to show solidarity. They even closed off Route 78 for the march. One of the organizers, Mitrese Smith says they believe that the police brutality needs to stop and things need to change.
“Our purpose for this is to see reform in the police systems and how they are trained.” Said Smith. “Trying to provide classes and courses for them to take about deescalation and brutality and to try and calm down people.”
A powerful moment took place at the end of the march. As a tribute to George Floyd, all 500 plus protesters held their fists up in the air for eight minutes and 47 seconds. Another organizer, Wendy Corral says that it was very emotional.
“It was really emotional because someone can say that George Floyd struggled for his life for eight minutes and you’re just like eight minutes doesn’t seem that long, but you’re sitting there and realizing how long he struggled.” Said Corral. “And you’re like that was a really long time for someone to be calling out for his mother that hasn’t even been on this earth for two years.”