More than 150 people turned out for a peaceful demonstration to bring awareness to the killing of George Floyd. The march began at Cannon Park and continued to downtown Carterville.
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 neck for more than 8 minutes.
The protest was organized by Korshawn Johnson of Carterville.
Johnson said the turn out for the protest was far more than he anticipated and is organizing another in Herrin.
Johnson said the turnout was heart touching.
“This was my first step of making a change and you guys making a change with me. Everybody that is here I want you guys to remember this for the rest of your lives,” Johnson said.
The protesters walked on the right side of the Grand Ave to the Gentry-Couch Insurance parking lot.
Elijah Burnett participated to support the connection of the community.
“I am here to support the black community, my fellow family, my fellow friends, everyone who has been wrongfully done just because of the color of their skin,” said Burnett.
Burnett told of their time attending Carterville high school to the group of protesters.
“I never knew what it was like to be truly bullied, what it was like to be truly picked on to have actual racism towards you, ‘til I went to Carterville high school,” Burnett said.
Chief Mike Flaningam thanked everyone for attending and encouraged for the dialogue to continue.
“There’s not a single police officer who didn’t witness what happened in Minnesota with disgust and anger. And I’m glad that appropriate actions are being taken there. Dialogue like this helps us all to work together to solve problems, to solve issues,” Flaningam said.
During the protest officers knelt with the group in prayer led by Rev. Chaise Miller.
Protester Kyle Wilson was surprised at the turn out for the protest. Growing up in this area many have seen racism in some form said Wilson.
“It’s not just turning your head and making a disgusted face, ‘cause we’ve all done it. It’s speaking up saying hey ‘no’ cut it out. Because the moment you’re willing to stand up for other people, stand up for other people in your community is when change starts to happen,” Wilson said.