CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin faces a third-degree murder charge and second degree manslaughter charge after pressing his knee into George Floyd’s neck for several minutes in Minneapolis. Protests are happening all over the country, including here in Champaign County.
Community members walked around Saturday afternoon holding signs to get their message across, many of them reading: “justice for George Floyd.”
Dozens of cars and people on bikes also rode around, following each other across the Champaign-Urbana downtown areas. People of all ages participated to demand justice.
They chanted, honked horns, and raised their fists in solidarity.
“We saw the whole thing, and we felt like we knew that man, however we had never met him. But we knew and we could identify with what what he was going through,” says NAACP Champaign County President Minnie Pearson.
Pearson says even though this happened over 500 miles away, “peaceful protest” is what enacts change.
“If we don’t [speak out], what does that say about this man’s life to his family, his daughters, his sisters, his brothers, and other people who are fearful…of how we’re treated as black people and people of color in this community and every community around the world.”
The mayor of Champaign says she took part in some of Saturday’s protests to show a united front.
“Allyship is important, and I think it’s important to speak out against injustice, but also making sure that our African American citizens, friends, and colleagues…know they are not standing alone,” says Mayor Feinen.