University of Illinois athletes led a Black Lives Matter march through Champaign on Monday, culminating with five minutes of silence outside Champaign Police Headquarters.
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Chants of “No justice, no peace! Prosecute the police!” rang out as the group estimated at about 500 people marched from Memorial Stadium up First Street through Campustown.
U of I football player Kendrick Green helped organize the march. He says head coach Lovie Smith was in full support of the idea.
“He just said, ‘ok, let’s do it.’ You know, he was all for it. He’s on our side,” Green said.
After protesters knelt and held about five minutes of silence in front of Champaign Police headquarters, several people spoke, including U of I football player Nate Hobbs, who is from Louisville, where police shot and killed Breonna Taylor earlier this year.
“I see a lot of love right now,” Hobbs said. “We need to keep that going because that’s the only thing that’s going to save this country, is love.”
Athletes from the U of I football, volleyball, soccer, and men’s and women’s basketball teams all took part in the march, along with other U of I students and community members.
University of Illinois journalism student Farrah Anderson contributed audio and photos for this story.