On Sunday, protesters gathered to raise awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement, this time in the Old Border Town of Momence. The protest was also in part due to what protesters are calling ‘racist comments’ made by Momence Mayor, Chuck Steele.
Protesters gathered at Momence High School around noon before blocking off streets in town on Sunday. Soon later a group of around 50 attendees marched on the home of Momence Mayor, Chuck Steele, as well as the Momence Police Station.
“For the Mayor to make such a bold statement like that, it shows that there will continue to be systematic racism and injustice in our community,” said Community Activist Travo Miller, who stood with protesters over the weekend.
The email has since made it’s rounds on social media.
Mayor Steele said Monday allegations by protesters came out of his response after someone questioned him via email about a former Momence police officer’s private comments.
“We have and will respect all citizens’ rights to peacefully express First Amendment protected views. I ask the marchers to respect the people they wish to educate and convince and to cause no damage.” Momence Mayor Chuck Steele said Monday.
Miller says the Mayor should focus more on making his city administration and leadership more diverse. “Hire more minority police, fire, and city employees. He was bold enough to speak out publicly yet, wasn’t bold enough to stand his word and address the protesters.” Miller said Sunday evening.
“I was asked if I, as Mayor, could stop the comments of a former police officer. I wrote back by email that I had no control over the comments of a former employee. It is my view that nationally, police actions have been wrong in many recent cases and must be corrected. Police Officers in Momence and elsewhere must have the skills to deescalate conflicts.” Mayor Steele said Monday.
There were no reports of any incidents in Momence Sunday.
Protesters have turned an eye to Herscher and will hold a stage event to speak to attendees at the park bandshell around 4:30 pm Monday.