‘Demonstration for Justice and Peace’ kicks off at courthouse square

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MONTICELLO, Ill. (WCIA) — Hundreds of people are gathered in Monticello for a ‘Demonstration for Justice and Peace’ this afternoon.

It’s one of many, similarly-motivated gatherings that have taken place throughout Central Illinois — and across the country — over the past week. Organizers and protestors have called for racial justice, equality and end to police brutality in the wake of the death of George Floyd, who died at the hands of police in Minneapolis on May 25.

In Monticello today, at least three speakers will address the gathering, including resident Melina Thompson, Monticello High School Head coach Cullen Welter, and MHS graduate Vinny Strack.

“It’s just something that is unique to my 18 years in town.

Rod Hinmon attended his first local protest in nearly two decades. He says coming together reflects the values of the small town.

“I am very encouraged and heartwarmed by the reception of so many people of so many backgrounds coming together in a common purpose that is based on positivity and goodwill,” says Hinman.

In a city of 5,000 people that has a population that is 95% white, one organizer says she hopes the demonstration shows monticello supports social equality.

“Small towns like Monticello are nothing to be afraid of. There’s plenty of support here for movements like the Black Lives Matter movement. This is a like you said a very white town and I think it was really important to use our privilege. First of acknowledge our privilege and second of all use our privilege for the small community of people of color here in Monticello and in surrounding areas,” says Co-organizer Ellie Carpenter.

Hinmon says this is a step in the right direction.

“This is just showing you know just how much the world is a much better place than it is sometimes is categorized or portrayed.”

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