George Floyd protest to take place tomorrow in Carterville

“If I have to, I will march alone”

A pop-up protest in response to the death of George Floyd is scheduled to take place in Carterville at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 3.

This is the first protest Carterville resident Korshaw Johnson has organized.

“I know for a fact that I want to keep this as peaceful as possible,” he said.

The protest will start at Cannon Park and move to downtown Carterville, with protesters walking on the sidewalk, according to Johnson. Afterwards, Johnson will be walking back to the park.

Johnson said the protest’s goal is to bring awareness to racism.

“I do want justice for the man that was killed, George [Floyd], and many other people that have been murdered,” Johnson said.

George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was arrested on May 25 by Minneapolis police officers after a deli employee had called 911 accusing him of using a counterfeit $20 bill. Floyd died during the arrest after Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his Floyd’s neck for more than 8 minutes.

Carterville Mayor Brad Robinson said he is unsure if the protest will occur but is planning to prepare as if it will.

“Based on the possibility, we’re already creating an incident action plan and preparing public safety and public works. In the event it does happen, we just want to try to make sure they can do whatever they want to do safely and protect people,” Robinson said.

“All of our efforts are pointed towards protecting the safety of the individuals who participate,” Robinson said.

Carterville Alderman Tom Harness said his first instinct was to get more information on the protest.

“I had a really nice conversation with [Johnson], very calm, just very heartfelt. He talked about wanting to leave a legacy for his son and that he wanted [the protest] to be peaceful,” Harness said.

Harness said he is encouraged that Johnson wants to make a difference in the Carterville community. He wants the community to be engaging and to start dialogue which may be hard.

“I told him I support him, I’ll be there tomorrow. I hope everything goes calmly and goes the way the community needs. I want the businesses to be safe. I want the community and everybody going. But at the end of the day I hope it unites our community.”