Protestors take to Glenview’s Municipal Center calling for justice for George Floyd

Protestors+take+to+Glenview%27s+Municipal+Center+calling+for+justice+for+George+Floyd

Maggie Baumstark, co-editor-in-chief

At 1 p.m. today, June 1, hundreds of people lined the sidewalks and median in front of Glenview’s Municipal Center in peaceful protest. With fists raised in solidarity and toting signs that read “Silence is Compliance” and “No lives matter until black lives matter,” the protestors called for justice for George Floyd, a black man allegedly murdered by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25, and for reform of the justice system.

One of the protestors, Annabelle Northrup, a South junior, said that she has grown up watching racial injustice unfold in countless instances reminiscent of George Floyd’s murder and felt the need to protest. Her goal in protesting was to make legislators take notice and invoke change in what she called a justice system deeply-seated with racism and responsible for the innocent deaths of black men and women.

“I started to feel that just signing petitions and posting on social media wasn’t enough,” Northrup said. “My aunt [who lives in St. Paul, Minnesota] was out protesting and she got a rubber bullet to the face and broke her nose. After hearing that, I was devastated and I felt that if she can be this brave figure that can go out and fight for peoples’ rights, then I want to do that too.”

Throughout the protest, cars streamed down East Lake Avenue, many honking their horns in support. Fists were raised through windows and met with affirmation from the protestors who cheered at each honk and waved their signs in support. Even some members of the system the protestors were rebuking showed solidarity with their cause: one Glenview Police Officer held up a fist through an open window as he drove past the protestors. 

However, not all passersby affirmed the protestors. Many drove past indifferent while a few threw up middle fingers through their windows and cursed at the protestors. One protestor, who asked not to be named, believes that these instances are proof of racism running rampant throughout Chicago’s northern suburbs. 

“It just shows how prevalent racism is, especially in these suburban counties and I think that’s really telling of why it’s important that we have this movement today, especially among the youth,” the protestor said. “Almost everyone that has been flipping us off has been elderly or middle aged people and I think that’s really telling of where we live and our society today.”

The Glenview protest’s chants of “I can’t breathe”—a reference to George Floyd’s pleas for help as an officer knelt on his neck— and “No justice, No peace,” echoed the chants of protests that have been taking place across the nation throughout the past week. Protests-turned-riots have taken place in Minneapolis, Atlanta and Chicago as well as numerous other cities, and social media has been flooded with an outpouring of calls for change and demands for justice. 

Governor JB Pritzker made a clear distinction between peaceful protestors and looters in a press conference today, supporting peaceful protests like Glenview’s, but condemning those who instigate violence.

“We have to take care of our communities and our people, and for that reason, we will continue to strategically deploy Illinois State Police and the National Guard as we work to protect Illinoisans and the First Amendment rights of peaceful protesters,” Pritzker said. “We cannot allow those who have taken advantage of this moment to loot and smash to also steal the voices of those peacefully expressing a need for real meaningful change.”

Another protestor, who also asked not to be identified, believes that posting on social media isn’t enough and that physically protesting is necessary to invoke real change. 

“There are people that stay reposting [things on social media],” the protestor said. “Show up to one of these [protests]. Otherwise you’re not making a difference, you’re just talking about it, which helps, but if you’re not coming here and you’re not going out and putting it out to the world then nothing’s gonna change.”

The protest remained entirely peaceful and there was no police presence at the protest, save a couple of squad cars passing by. The vast majority of protestors were white, which one angry passerby commented on as he drove past. Glenview’s demographic is largely responsible for the disproportionate turnout of white protestors versus black protestors, for 82.6 percent of Glenview’s population is white while only 1.39 percent is black, according to w0rldpopulationreview.com. One white protestor, who asked to be identified by her first name, Sydney, feels that even though she wishes Glenview’s protest involved people of color, protesting as an ally is far better than standing idly by.

“It’s incredibly unfortunate that our community does not have more diversity- I wish we could be standing here with people of color and people that are being directly affected by this huge issue,” Sydney said. “However, we are using our privilege for good and we’re not just staying silent because that’s the worst thing we can do.”

Despite light rainfall and the occasional gesture from passersby, protestors held up their signs and screamed for justice deep into Monday afternoon. People of all ages came out to the protests, including two twelve year old boys, Chris and Jacob, who stood on the median of East Lake Avenue and hoisted signs proclaiming “Black Lives Matter”.

“I hope to accomplish justice,” Chris said. “As people are chanting, no justice, no peace. What happened with George Floyd wasn’t right and this happens daily, where cops are racist to black people. I hope to accomplish some sort of change.”