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U Of I Athletes Lead Black Lives Matter March Through Champaign

University of Illinois athletes, fellow students and community members march north on First Street through Campustown.

University of Illinois athletes led a Black Lives Matter march through Champaign on Monday, culminating with five minutes of silence outside Champaign Police Headquarters.

Listen to this story here.

Chants of “No justice, no peace! Prosecute the police!” rang out as the group estimated at about 500 people marched from Memorial Stadium up First Street through Campustown.

U of I football player Kendrick Green (on step) and several of his teammates prepare to speak at Monday’s BLM march. Farrah Anderson/for Illinois Newsroom

U of I football player Kendrick Green helped organize the march. He says head coach Lovie Smith was in full support of the idea.

“He just said, ‘ok, let’s do it.’ You know, he was all for it. He’s on our side,” Green said.

After protesters knelt and held about five minutes of silence in front of Champaign Police headquarters, several people spoke, including U of I football player Nate Hobbs, who is from Louisville, where police shot and killed Breonna Taylor earlier this year.

“I see a lot of love right now,” Hobbs said. “We need to keep that going because that’s the only thing that’s going to save this country, is love.”

Athletes from the U of I football, volleyball, soccer, and men’s and women’s basketball teams all took part in the march, along with other U of I students and community members.

University of Illinois journalism student Farrah Anderson contributed audio and photos for this story.

Picture of Brian Moline

Brian Moline

Brian Moline is the Managing Editor of Illinois Newsroom and host of Morning Edition for Illinois Public Media/WILL. He's been with WILL since 2015, after a long stint at WDWS-AM in Champaign where he covered both news and sports for more than a decade. If you have story or interview ideas, you can reach Brian at bmoline@illinois.edu.

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Severe storms possible Thursday evening and overnight

From the National Weather Service in Central Illinois: A line of t’storms will affect the area late Thursday afternoon into the overnight hours. Some severe storms are in the forecast, with damaging wind gusts and large hail. Stay weather aware and be ready to take shelter when storms approach.