Peaceful LZ protest to support Black Lives Matter movement


Photo by and used with permission of Dana Fleming

Dana Fleming, incoming sophomore, showing her support for the Black Lives Matter movement. This Thursday at 5pm, she has organized a peaceful protest in downtown LZ to localize the nationwide fight for equality.

With all 50 states hosting demonstrations in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, an LZHS student is bringing the campaign to a local level to “raise awareness of police brutality” with a peaceful rally.

Dana Fleming, incoming sophomore, says she was driven to organize the protest because “Lake Zurich is predominantly white” and she wants people to realize how Black people’s experiences with police are vastly different from what most people in this area experience.

“I’m white, I am privileged, and I think it’s important that everyone acknowledges their white privilege … I’ve never had racism happen to me, but I’ve heard about it from some of my friends,” Fleming said. “You need to realize you have privilege because for so many people, they can’t lie to themselves and say that racism doesn’t exist because they experience it.”

 Fleming has been advertising her protest on Facebook in hopes of getting people in the 78.1% white community to pay attention to the Black Lives Matter cause and actively participate in the “peaceful protest” planned for June 4 at 5pm at the corner of Old Rand Road and Main Street in downtown LZ. 

“I think it’s important for young people to get involved in this, because a lot of young people just go with what their parents say,” Fleming said.  “And it’s also important because young people really are the future because we’re going to be the ones that are in charge one day.”

Fleming also says that beyond just students she encourages people of all ages come and show their support for the movement. Face masks will be required and social distancing encouraged. 

As protests continue to escalate all over the world following the spread of the graphic video depicting George Floyd’s death online, Fleming says she’s trying to make a more accessible way for minors to show their support through peaceful protest.

“I really wanted to go to Chicago, but my parents were really hesitant to let me go because of some of the violence that was happening in other places, so I just wanted to start one here that was peaceful so that everyone could go,” Fleming said.

At the upcoming rally, students can stand against police brutality and the corruption of the justice system with the goal of staying peaceful.  Fleming said she intentionally chose to schedule the protest at 5pm because “It’s at a time when people are going to be coming home from work so they’re gonna see us, holding up different signs as they drive by.”

 Other plans for the event include having “a moment of silence for George Floyd, a victim of police brutality, and “we might have everyone lay on the ground for eight minutes,” Fleming said.

Another reason Fleming says the rally should be kept peaceful is due to increasing concerns in the movement that Black protestors are framed as the perpetrators of rioting and looting when some of the crimes are being committed by white anarchists and police who are exploiting the protests to cause chaos or to divert attention from the goal of the movement.

“We definitely want to try to make it peaceful,” Fleming said.  “Because we want to support the small businesses in Lake Zurich, and we aren’t Black, obviously, so we shouldn’t riot otherwise it gets blamed on them and people focus on it instead of the protests’ meaning.”

For those who can’t attend on Thursday, Fleming advises everyone to still get involved in the cause, beyond just performative posting.

“Definitely sign the petitions,” she said, “and also donate what you can to [bail out] people who are in jail right now for protesting at the riots and donating to the different funds for people that were killed by police brutality.”

Along with signing petitions and making donations, Fleming encourages the community to actively be an ally in daily life.

“It’s really easy and it’s also free to sign as many petitions as you can,” Fleming said, “Some things I’ve been doing are making signs and putting it in my windows and the car windows. Also, it’s just, if one of your family members says something racist about the protests or something in general, it’s really important that you call them out on it and correct them.”

 Fleming warns, however, that when the protests end the fight for equality needs to continue after the event is over.

“Even though right now, it could kind of be seen as a trend to support Black Lives Matter and stuff,” she said, “for so many of these people, it’s their life all the time and they can’t take off their skin. So it’s important that we don’t just support them during this, but all the time.”