MONMOUTH — Inspired by other youth-led Black Lives Matter events in the area, two Monmouth teens organized a peaceful protest and march last weekend to call for racial justice and to ask for young voices to be heard in the community.


Ruby Williams, 15, and Anna Dillard, 14, both of Monmouth, watched the video of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers and attended protests in Monmouth and Galesburg earlier in June.


Those experiences made them want to keep the conversations about racial injustice going in their community.


Williams said a goal of the event was to empower youth in Monmouth and ask older generations to listen more intently to the views and perspectives of younger people.


"We're the future not just of this town but the whole country," Williams said.


The teens were assisted in planning the event by Jake Murdock, a Warren County native and special education teacher for Galesburg District 205.


Murdock also helped the Monmouth-Roseville High School students promote the event, including several radio appearances.


Dillard said youth in the community want discussions about racism and justice to continue.


"We don't want it to die down," Dillard said.


Mataya Caldwell, who organized a Black LIves Matter event in Galesburg, also spoke at the event.


She noted that protests across the country already are leading to social change, but the fight is far from over.


"Black people are being killed for being Black, and that needs to change," Caldwell said.