News Local/State

BLM Activists In Central Illinois Organize In Response To Recent Shootings

Robert Moore addresses the crowd at the Black Lives Matter rally in Springfield.

Robert Moore addresses the crowd at the Black Lives Matter rally in Springfield. (Rachel Otwell/WUIS)

Kadeem Fuller organizes community engagement for the Black Lives Matter chapter located in Champaign-Urbana. He says the time for educating white people on the cause has passed - now is time for action. The group held a 'positive vibes only' event in downtown Champaign Friday night. 

C-U Chapter leader Evelyn Reynolds posted this on Facebook Thursday.

"Folks asking "what is Black Lives Matter doing about the recent murders by police". The question is what are YOU doing?! Don't wait for black people or BLM to act on genocide, oppression, transphobia, etc. DO SOMETHING yourself! Reflect on how you are complicit and implicated. I'm with working together. I'm not with educating folks who can educate themselves, but don't care enough or are too lazy..."

Fuller says he agrees, and, "We can't continually take time (away) from organizing to tell white folks what's going on within our communities - what's going on with Black Lives Matter." Fuller says hip-hop artists who go by Mother Nature held an event  Friday (7/8) night in downtown Champaign, combining music and protest.

Flyer for an event Friday night in Champaign.

Photo Credit: Kadeem Fuller

He says the idea behind the ‘positive vibes only’ event held Friday was to offer support to those needing it.

“We marched downtown a couple of blocks," Fuller told the program 'Illinois Edition.'  "And it kind of disturbed, agitated people. So that’s what we were there for.  To give positive vibes to people who are suffering – black people.  And also – just to go across Urbana Champaign  - the downtown area. Let them know that we’re still here – planning on protesting, agitating the system.”

On Friday, Fuller spoke with NPR Illinois about his reaction to the recent deaths at the hands of police of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, and now - Thursday night's shooting of police in Dallas as well.

A Black Lives Matter event was planned in Springfield before the deaths of police officers in Dallas. It's meant to call attention to the shootings of black people by police. Sunshine Clemons works as a legislative aide in Springfield and helped organize the rally, she says she's not an official member of Black Lives Matter since there's no Springfield chapter, still she says: "I feel like something needs to be done, and I don't necessarily know what to do - but I'm hoping with getting the community and the police out there together maybe we can come up with something ... because things have to change."

Meanwhile, a “Peace Love Unity” rally in Champaign’s West Side Park Sunday brought out several hundred people.  Other events condemning the events of the past week were held in Springfield, Decatur and Peoria.