After days of violence and looting across the city and Cook County, a group of faith leaders, community activists and politicians rallied to urge peaceful protests and call for reform. way.

“The murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police was the spark that ignited protests in Minneapolis and across the country,” Cook County Councilmember Toni Preckwinkle said Tuesday. “This murder, the usual murder at the hands of the police, has caused an uproar because it happens so often. … The murder of George Floyd – this preventable death from racism is nothing new and the violence that followed, tragically, is nothing new.”

Across the city and county, windows were smashed and shops looted just as many shops began to reopen or were about to reopen after two months of closure to slow the spread of the virus. – withdraw corona.

Activist Jahmal Cole, CEO and founder of My Block, My Hood, My City, said a mother of four had no job because the gas station where she worked burned down.

“There is a way we can constructively resist. Breaking down businesses in your own community… that’s not smart,” Cole said, adding that there is a difference between violence and force. “Peaceful protest is powerful. You can put pressure on organizations to address issues that concern you. … Violence — that’s when you trespass on someone’s property. That’s not smart.”

Cole urged community leaders to meet young people to stop the violence.

“We stood before businesses that were looted and now we protest peacefully,” he said. “When young people approach, we know how to talk to them because we’ve already worked with them. We need community leaders to post on a block in their neighborhood and when young people come in, let them know there are peaceful ways to protest.”

Cardinal Blase Cupich said protesters should “pay attention to the wishes of Floyd’s family and not tarnish [his] gentle memory by spreading the disease of violence. We need to act peacefully.”

Cupich also called for reform of “laws that support organized oppression” and for legislation to be passed that “ensures equal opportunities”.

Governor J.B. Pritzker rejected calling for a special session to enact such legislation, but agreed that reform was needed. He also admits people need “a place to deal with (their) pain and to heal.”

“I don’t pretend to know the pain that black Americans go through, the pain of knowing what happened to George Floyd can happen to you or your children,” Pritzker said. “But I know, at this moment, a lot of people here in Illinois are overwhelmed with rage, passion, and grief.”