By Kyle Cunningham and Stephanie Malench
On Saturday, three peaceful protests were held in Madison County as part of the Black Lives Matter movement that has seen a resurgence since the death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis.
The first protest of the day was held at the Madison County Courthouse in Edwardsville. Nearly 1,000 protesters stood on the steps and sidewalks around the courthouse carrying signs with a variety of messages, including “Black Lives Matter”, Be the Change”, and “Less Police More Social Work”.
The highlight of the Edwardsville protest was when protestors laid on their stomachs for 8 minutes and 46 seconds with their hands behind their backs as Bob Gill played a steady beat on a drum that eventually faded out, in time with George Floyd’s heartbeat. At noon he second protest was held in Granite City.
The third one was a march held at 2 pm through downtown Collinsville. The march and rally was organized by Nyjo
Clark of City of Joy Fellow- ship Church in East St. Louis and drew nearly 500 people of every age and race down Clay St. to the parking lot behind the D.D. Collins House where more speeches were given and back up Main St.
Groups of protestors also lined the streets in the shade of buildings and trees due to the high heat.
Collinsville Police Chief Steve Evans said of the event “We are trying to do our best to protect the protesters, but the protest was supposed to be in one place”. Of cers had side streets blocked off and were standing on corners waiting to stop traf c.
Peaceful Protest Held In Troy
Another successful peaceful protest took place in Troy this past weekend with over 100 participants filling the sidewalk alongside the city municipal building.
Those actively participating in the peaceful Black Lives Matter protest featured a diverse group of demonstrators for all ages from throughout the area.
Protest organizer Sam Bozarth used a megaphone to ignite various chants for the protesters to repeat, while vehicles that were in support of the movement would either honk or signal to the group that they are with them. Some of the chants that could be heard included, but were not limited to “I can’t breathe” and “no justice, no peace, no racist police”,
Bozarth, who created the ‘A platform to speak against, Troy, IL” page on Facebook decided to spearhead this event due to injustice that he has seen by the police both from afar and personally.
“I was personally moved to action when I started reading the overwhelming evidence of police inciters framing pro- testers, and when the police showed up at my job and interrogated my coworkers about the vandalism at TPD that I had nothing to do with,” he said.
Seeing others take action in other areas gave him even more motivation to do his part within the movement.
“I have felt powerless to resist, until I saw that other people were also tired of being stepped on.”
Bozarth’s Facebook group currently has 536 members.