SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - Chief of Staff for the Illinois Department of Corrections, Camile Lindsay, said the department wanted to give inmates across the state an opportunity to get involved with the Black Lives Matter movement without actually having to be present.
"We felt they would likely have very strong opinions about that," Lindsay said. "A lot of the protests had to do with interactions with law enforcement, and every body in our custody, has had interactions with law enforcement. One way we thought they could participate was to use some of their artistic skills to put together posters that expressed their support of the protests."
Those posters will be taken all the way to Washington, D.C. to be used at the Black Lives Matter March, and inmate at Hill Correctional Center, Anthony Spaulding Jr., said he's happy to be able to have a voice.
"It's been a Black Lives Matter movement before it was called the Black Lives Matter movement," Spaulding said. "We know that there's been people struggling and fighting for years and years before Black Lives Matter."
Hundreds of inmates, like Dominque Thomas, said the death of George Floyd sparked a need for change.
"It was very frustrating," Thomas said. "The way I view it, it could be one of my loved ones ... my father, my brother, a son."
Each poster is unique. For Thomas, it was all about provoking change with an image.
"In my poster, hopefully they can see the pain in the individualized eyes," Thomas said. "Despite the color of his skin, he's still a human. He deserves the same as everyone else."
For Spaulding, it was about declaring a powerful message.
"My poster says, 'Is America for everyone,'" Spaulding said. "A lot of people understand we don't have equal protection and equal justice in a lot of aspects."
The posters will be taken by Rep. Chris Welch (D-Hillside) to Washington, D.C. The march is scheduled for Aug. 28.