People gather in downtown Rockford for Black Lives Matter protes - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

People gather in downtown Rockford for Black Lives Matter protest

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ROCKFORD (WREX) -

Over the past few weeks, Black Lives Matter protests have occurred all over the country. Saturday, dozens of protesters gathered in downtown Rockford.

But organizers like Dylan Garcia say they are fighting for equality -- for all people.

"It's easy to say that's not me, that's not my family, that's not my friends," said Garcia. "But the reality of it is that this kind of violence, while it particularly affects black people in their day-to-day basis, if we do not fight against it, we are basically saying we are okay living in a violent society."

For Carlos Smith, he says that change needs to start right here in Rockford.

"Acknowledgment doesn't change anything," Smith said. "Acknowledgment is the first step, but change is the next one."

Smith, just 17 years old, spoke at the protest, saying injustice anywhere -- is injustice everywhere.

Garcia says he hopes events like this one show protests can effect change in a non-violent way.

A change Garcia says doesn't happen overnight but talking about it is a start.

"I'm so glad that black people are coming out and speaking and people are listening, and that's super important to me because that's what we need in this movement," Garcia said.

A movement protesters say must be made by the black community, but all those involved.

"It's important for white people to become allies to this movement, and that we realize that maybe we're not contributing to it personally, but we can absolutely contribute to a solution," said Angeline Lanza, a Dekalb resident, originally from Rockford.

A solution these protesters say must be formed by people all over the country and here in the Forest City.

The group also is planning a march for Sunday, July 17 in downtown Rockford-- which meets at Beattie Park at 3 p.m.

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