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BLMPeoria's Facebook page is featuring a video from Ms. Chama St. Louis addressing her disappointment at tweets that At-Large Councilwoman Beth Akeson sent to the City of Peoria (#Peoria) and the Black Lives Matter (#BLM) national group. The video is a thoughtful and passionate call to action to Peoria's Black community, who Ms. St. Louis (and others) feel need to step up.
Akeson, first tweeted a derogatory statement on July 11, 2016, and then followed up with a shout out to @BLM and @DonaldTrump on August 16, 2016.
On July 13, 2016, State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth and Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis attended a vigil in Peoria that was held after the shooting deaths of two black men at the hands of police officers. At that time, the Mayor made the following statement:
Mayor Ardis: I think that the “black lives matter” is extremely relevant and I don't think it's a racist statement, I think people are getting a little bit hung up. Nobody said black lives matter more than anybody else's. People don't need to be afraid to say, ‘you're right black lives do matter".
Recently At-large Councilwoman Beth Jensen called for a resolution to support Muslim citizens against "Islamophobia." Councilwoman Akeson was the lone no vote (9-1) on the resolution.
Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth: “We have to remain unified if we want our communities to be strong and have the ability to flourish because communities divided, fall! What they're saying is that black lives matter, too or black lives matter also, or black lives matter as well. [They’re] not saying that black lives are any more important than anyone else’s but I think what they are saying that black lives aren't any less important than anyone else's.”
“The fact of the matter of it is there's a great deal of anger out there. Individuals are tired of waking up every day and seeing men, whether it be for having skittles, an iced tea, selling a CD, selling a loose cigarette going for their license an ID people are tired of seeing them killed on video and nothing happening, People are tired of abject violence and seeing police officers who are trying to protect and serve the community and trying to provide an environment so that a peaceful protest can happen. For them to not be able to go home to their families; it's unacceptable."