URBANA, WDVM (WDVM) – A Black Lives Matter LGBTQ+ protest was held in Urbana on Friday evening.
Starting at the Urbana Regional Library in 80 degree weather, demonstrators marched on sidewalks near shopping centers, main roads and local suburbs calling for justice and systemic reform.
“It’s not a political issue, it’s not anything like that,” activist Ibukun Fagbohun said. “It’s just a human rights issue.”
Rayona Shuster organized the event originally as a Black Lives Matter march but said she wanted to also draw attention to people of color within the LGBTQ+ community also facing injustices.
“Especially since it’s pride month and there have been multiple black trans women killed in the last few weeks, it’s so important to remember that it’s not just one happening,” Shuster said. “It’s thousands and thousands of people being injured, killed, hurt, assaulted.”
Organized through social media platforms, primarily young adults came out with signs and chants, calling for police reform and social justice.
Shuster said their call for the defunding of police is a call for a “Re-funding” towards better training and a different structure.
“Defunding doesn’t mean completely abolishing,” Shuster said. “It just means to fix what is wrong.”
Shuster said this was not her first protest and she’s not planning for it to be her last.