On May 12, 2023, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis visited Peoria to speak at a Lincoln Day Dinner hosted by the Tazewell County Republican Party. The event was met with protests from a number of local groups, including Peorians for Black Liberties (PBL) and Peoria's National Organization of Women (Peoria NOW).
PBL and Peoria NOW organized two separate rallies to counter DeSantis' visit. The first rally, which took place at the Federal Building across the street from the Peoria Public Library, hosted by Peoria NOW, worked as a bit of a hub and resource center providing signs and banner supplies as well as collecting petitions in support of the Public Library workers contract issues. The second rally, which took place directly outside the Peoria Civic Center where DeSantis was speaking inside, together the rallies drew over a hundred people filling the sidewalk with joy and resistance to hate.
The protesters at both rallies spoke out against DeSantis' policies, which they said are harmful to marginalized communities. They also expressed concern that DeSantis' visit would send a message that his hateful agenda is welcome in Illinois.
The protests against DeSantis' visit were successful in drawing attention to his harmful policies. They also sent a message that Peoria is a welcoming community for all people, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation.
Change Peoria Stands with PBL and Peoria NOW
Change Peoria organizers were unable to attend the protests in person, but we were there in spirit. We stand in solidarity with PBL and Peoria NOW in their fight against hate and discrimination.
We are committed to creating a more just and equitable Peoria for all people. We will continue to work with our community partners to fight for the rights of all people, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation.
We thank PBL and Peoria NOW for their leadership in organizing the protests against DeSantis' visit. We are proud to stand with them in the fight for a better Peoria.
We Know DeSantis' Agenda is Harmful
We know that DeSantis' policies are harmful to marginalized communities. He has rolled back LGBTQ+ rights, restricted voting access, and attacked public education. He is also a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump, who incited the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
We Will Not Allow DeSantis' Agenda to Take Root in Peoria
We at Change Peoria are proud to stand with PBL and Peoria NOW in this fight. We believe that Peoria is a city that stands for inclusion and equality, and we will not allow DeSantis' hateful agenda to take root here.
We Urge All Peoria Residents to Join Us
We urge all Peoria residents to join us in standing up to hate and discrimination. We can make Peoria a city where everyone feels welcome and safe, regardless of who they are or what they believe.
The protests against DeSantis' visit received a great deal of media attention. Articles were published in the Chicago Tribune, the Peoria Journal Star, 25 News, WCBU (Peoria’s NPR network) Illinois Eagle and other local and national media outlets. The protests were also covered by local television and radio stations.
Support from Passing Cars
The protesters also received a great deal of support from passing cars. Drivers honked their horns and waved in support of the protesters. Some drivers even stopped to offer food and water.
The protests against DeSantis' visit were a success. They drew attention to his harmful policies and sent a message that Peoria is a welcoming community for all people. We at Change Peoria are proud to stand with PBL and Peoria NOW in this fight. We will not allow DeSantis' hateful agenda to take root in Peoria.
How You Can Help
There are many ways you can help us fight against DeSantis' hateful agenda and work towards a better Peoria for all. You can:
· Contact your elected officials and tell them to oppose DeSantis' policies
Together, we can make Peoria a city where everyone feels welcome and safe.