Some local community leaders have joined forces to form a new coalition called “Black Justice Project” (BJP) to call for accountability as it relates to matters of injustice in black communities.
Founded by Chama St. Louis, Co-Founded by Keri Hayes and Marcus Fogliano, in affiliation with Change Peoria, the Black Justice Project’s mission is to “fight for the human rights and equity of the Black Community.”
“I felt that Peoria desperately needed a group whose primary focus is getting justice for Black Lives. We didn’t just become the worst city for blacks to live in, overnight. This has been a direct result of years of poor leadership and no accountability. The city isn’t being held accountable in the way that it needs to be as it relates to matters of injustice when it comes to black people. I don’t believe our elected officials, specifically our Mayor and the police department are taking crime in black communities seriously. There have been numerous panel discussions and conversations, but never any follow through that generates real results. I believe this is happening because, up until now, there hasn’t been any one group or organization that has been successful with creating checks and balances to ensure our elected officials and public servants are held to the platforms they promised to uphold during their campaigns and the oaths they’ve taken to serve the people,” said Chama St. Louis.
BJP’s primary focus is to build equity within the Black Community in regard to social justice, equal opportunity to education, and to advocate on behalf of human rights. BJP will also address matters of police brutality and excessive force. Although the group will mirror the vision established by Black Lives Matter and the Movement for Black Lives and in a lot of instances, may follow the same path to justice, it is not to be confused with either of those chapters.
“What I think is most awesome about this collaboration is the fact that the collective effort of our Community Outreach Organizers isn’t anything that is new; but now, by unifying and combining our networks and our resources we are going to be able to both, address and attack the blatant lack of leadership and direction that is needed of City Officials in the Black Community,” said Keri Hayes.
“Those of us at the farthest margins of society, live with the clearest vision of freedom. Ending the war on black people requires a fight for the rights, equity, and justice for all black persons, regardless of our intersecting identities. I’m enthusiastic to be a part of Black Justice Project to be there to fight those fights,” said Marcus Fogliano.
Black Justice Project will also be keeping a close eye on the details that emerge from the police involved shooting of Eddie Russell, Jr. At his parent’s request, St. Louis hosted a vigil for Eddie Russell, Jr. on October 24th in front of City Hall. The group is also responsible for pushing police to look deeper into the disappearance of missing woman, Alexis Scott, who was last seen on September 23, 2017 at a house party.
BJP is looking forward to collaborating with other community leaders and organizations on various projects and initiatives for a greater impact. BJP is also recruiting members to join the team. To inquire about membership or to submit questions, concerns, or request for help, citizens can visit Black Justice Project on Facebook.