Illinoisans Protest Governor Pritzker’s Tyrannical Orders

Written by Austin Scott Davies

Austin Scott Davies, Re-Open Illinois women, Orphans of the American Dream, Master of Ceremonies

On Saturday, over a thousand Illinois citizens came together at the State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, to declare their God-given rights in the face of oppression by Governor J.B. Pritzker and his administration. Since Pritzker declared every county in Illinois a disaster on March 9, 2020, he has issued executive orders that far exceed his authority and trample on the rights of Illinois citizens. Thousands of businesses and churches have been shuttered and thousands of livelihoods have been needlessly destroyed with no regard for constitutional constraints on government overreach.

Re-Open Illinois helped organize this event with the help of many like-minded patriots who oppose the governor’s illegal actions. The group is composed of ordinary citizens—many that have never been to a protest before—legislators, and grass-roots activists fed up with the governor’s lawless and arbitrary orders.

In response to the governor’s orders, Re-Open Illinois was created on April 20, 2020 by parents and small business owners Krystin Dodge, Kathryn Ballard, and Erica Rews. The Re-Open Illinois Facebook group has grown to over 35,000 members. Brian Mitchell, owner of TSA Productions, donated his services and professional sound equipment for both the Springfield and Chicago events, as did Oliver Vasilopoulos of Entourage Mobile Entertainment. Orphans of the American Dreama political and current events podcast—also helped organize the event.

State Rep. Darren Bailey (R-Louisville)

There were concerns the event would be rained out. For days the forecast predicted thunderstorms all day May 16, but when Saturday came the skies cleared. State Rep. Darren Bailey who, like State Rep. John Cabello, has filed suit against the governor, stepped up to the microphone and prayed,

Father God in heaven, we thank you so much again for the beautiful day. … We were told it was going to rain today, but Father God, you allowed for a beautiful day, and I give you credit for that.

The Capitol police were supportive of the protest and helped maintain the safety of those in attendance. The conductor of an afternoon train who could see the protest from the tracks blared his horn until it became a faint cry.

Kathryn Ballard was the first to speak, exclaiming that “all businesses are essential, all workers are essential!”

Mark Curran, GOP candidate for U.S. Senate.

Mark Curran, current U.S. Senate candidate (R), former prosecutor, and the longest-serving sheriff in Lake County history, spoke too. Mr. Curran declared that “our rights are based in nature’s laws and nature’s God. … Why do you think we’re here today? We’re here for our freedom.”

James Marter, former U.S. Senate candidate, former executive of the Illinois Conservative Union, and Chairman of Kendall County Republican Central Committee, shared a similar sentiment: “You and I are here because we choose libertyliberty over fear.”

Jason Helland, State’s Attorney for Grundy County did not hesitate to call out those in blue who are not keeping their oath of office:

So, I got a call from a local police chief, and he said, “enforce that executive order. We want to take people down that are in parks, we want to take people down that are violating that order, and we want to arrest them for reckless conduct,” and I said hell no. The criminals who have been released [by Pritzker] are reoffending in our communities and are more of a danger to us than the coronavirus. … Pritzker should be locked up for that.

Carol Davis, Chairman of the Illinois Conservative Union.

Business owners and conservative grassroots leaders also spoke at the protest. Carol Davis, Chairman of the Illinois Conservative Union, described Pritzker’s orders as immoral:

This land of Lincoln that we love, we are not going to turn it over to darkness and evil. … Face evil and take it down, and that’s what we’re going to do.

Jennifer Welch Ostrander, military veteran and owner of two small businesses, related how Pritzker’s orders have affected her:

Are you as mad as I am? We need to take back Illinois! We own an 80-thousand square foot building that has served as an incubator for six women-owned small businesses that have closed down for 60 days as of today. Thirty days is too long—60, 90, 120 are unsustainable.

Dr. Shawn and Dr. Heather Bladel, owners of Wellness Way in Rockford and parents to six children, three of whom serve in the U.S. Army, spoke. Dr. Heather Bladel minced no words in saying what she thought of the governor:

I have three kids who suit up every single day to defend our freedoms and the Constitution of the United States. … They took an oath to defend all of us against all enemies foreign and domestic, and right now, Mr. Pritzker, you are our enemy.

Dr. Shawn Bladel followed his wife, imploring Illinoisan to be bold:

We have to be bold. It takes boldness to stand up for your rights. It takes boldness to go back to work. … They don’t have the manpower to shut us all down. Pastors, it takes boldness to open your church up, so that we can praise God. Law enforcement, who dedicate your lives and your careers to protecting your communities, it takes boldness to stand against a dictator and protect our Constitution. And Moms and Dads, it takes boldness to stand for your families’ privacy, for your health and their future, because if you don’t they will take it from you. … Today, no matter who you are, whether you are ready to go into battle, you don’t have a choice, it’s been brought to you, and now you’ve been chosen.

Adam White, owner of RC Outfitters, who recently filed suit against Governor Pritzker and has kept his business open, defying the governor’s orders, addressed unemployment and relief checks:

I’m here because I believe in the American Dream. I believe in the American Way. I have dozens of employees who rely on us for a paycheck. They don’t want a handout; they want to earn their living. We need to take this state back.

Brandon Straka, founder of the WalkAway Campaign which encourages those on the Left to walk away from the divisive tenets of the Democrat Party, also appeared and saying,

A new social narrative has been created, the callous accusation that people like you and I are selfish because we believe that the tens of millions of unemployed, suffering, financially devastated Americans are a priority too.

State Rep. Darren Bailey closed with a prayer:

Father God, I pray for our Governor J.B. Pritzker, Lord God, that he would know you and carry out your will. … Any of these people, if they refuse, I pray that you would shut their foundations that they would know that you are Lord and Savior.

Sandy Dragoo & Kathryn Ballard

Others speakers included Sandy Dragoo, founder and coordinator of the Spingfield Tea Party, Dr. Brian Anseeuw, a neurologist from Moline, Adam Neimerg, State Rep. Candidate (R), State Rep. Blaine Wilhour (R), and State Rep. Chris Miller (R). Marilee Myers, founder of Northern Illinoisans for Medical Freedom, and her brother Brandon Morales sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem.

Re-Open Illinois helped coordinate another protest on May 1 that was reported by Fran Eaton of Illinois Review, HERE.

More great photos:

Adam Neimerg, candidate for Illinois House Dist. 109.

State Rep. Blain Wilhour (R-Effingham)

James Marter

State Rep. Chris Miller (R-Charleston)

Austin Scott Davies is an attorney, former prosecutor, and an active member of the Winnebago County Republican Party. He is also a board member for Concerned Citizens for America, a local chapter of Illinois Family Institute. Find Attorney Davies on Facebook.

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