Tuesday's protest for George Floyd in Ottawa opened dialogue between protesters and police about reform.
Angel Patterson organized another peaceful protest as she did Monday in Streator, speaking out against Floyd's death with the help of both the Ottawa Police Department – whose officers also passed out bottles of water, masks and hand sanitizer – and the La Salle County Sheriff's Office.
Floyd, a black man, was killed after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck in a scene caught on video.
"It's not Black against White or White against Black," Patterson said. "It's us against racism."
More than 50 protesters started off at the La Salle County courthouse on Etna Road, heading west on Etna Road before returning and driving to Washington Square with an escort from Ottawa police and La Salle County deputies.
From there, they marched south on Route 23, circled the downtown courthouse and headed back north to Washington Square, before marching west to the Ottawa Police Station.
Once they got back to the park, the chants continued.
"I can't breathe!"
"No justice, no peace!"
"What's his name? George Floyd!"
At one point, along Etna Road, protesters stopped and laid flat on their stomachs in the same position in which Floyd died.
All this happened while Ottawa Police Chief Brent Roalson and other officers watched, gaining an understanding of the protesters' perspective.
Roalson addressed the crowd after a protester asked him how their policing will change after this is is done.
"We need to go forward from where we're at; it ends up changing the mindset and culture of law enforcement," Roalson said.
"When I look at Minneapolis, I don't see it as officers versus a person. What I see is a crime. We have to change that mindset internally, which includes training our officers to do what we ask the public to do: See something, say something. That's what I want our officers to do so we can hold them accountable along the way."
Roalson addressed public complaints, telling protesters feedback from the public helps officers improve and it's important to submit feedback if necessary.
Darryl Stuggis of Spring Valley addressed the crowd along with Patterson at the beginning of the protest, speaking about the success the community can have with a peaceful protest.
"This is our community; we have to protect our own community in order to help other communities," Stuggis said. "If other communities can see we're growing, they can see us and know it works. Look at the violence. It's not bringing anyone back. George lost his life because he said, 'I can't breathe.' "
Debbie Damron rode up to the protest on her bicycle to join; she is a former Ottawa High School teacher's assistance who worked in the alternative program. Showing up to support people she cares about is important to her.
"When I was teaching, I knew some had their trouble, but I always wanted them to know that they deserve support, and I will still support them," Damron said. "I thought back on all of the people I've helped in my time teaching, and so many went on to be successful."
Stephannie Neumann of Ottawa said she showed up to the protest Tuesday hoping to see a peaceful message spread through the city.
Patterson plans to conduct another protest Wednesday in La Salle, weather permitting, making it the third in three days.
"I have experience getting followed in a store," Patterson said. "I personally haven't had issues with the police, but I know so many people that have. I'm hoping this cause, this awareness, leads people to get rid of the stereotype and to stop treating people differently. I want my daughter to feel safe walking down the street just like a white woman would. I want to walk in the streets and jog without being stereotyped or getting hurt because of the color of my skin. Being black in America should not be a death sentence."