Aug 03, 2018
In a march that shut down a portion of Lake Shore Drive during rush hour and ended with prayers and speeches outside of Wrigley Field, hundreds of anti-violence protesters marched in Chicago on Thursday evening to demand that the city invest in its impoverished neighborhoods and to call for the resignations of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.
The protesters took chalk to the city's popular expressway to highlight the issues of gun violence and police brutality. According to the Chicago Tribune's tracking program, 304 people have been killed in 2018 alone, mostly in shootings.
Some marchers chanted "16 shots and a cover up" in reference to 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was fatally shot by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke in October of 2014. Since the dash camera footage of the shooting was released in 2015, there have been local protests as well as federal inquiries into the police department. Van Dyke is facing murder charges, and his trial is set to begin later this year.
Antonio Brown marched carrying a photograph of his son, Amari. "My son was killed in 2015 on the Fourth of July. He was 7-years-old. So I'm really just tired of the senseless violence. I'm trying to do everything that I can do to keep his name alive," Brown toldABC 7 Chicago. "Everything that I do for him, if it's positive it helps me get through what I have to get through."
"The reality is this: Our community is bleeding every day," declared organizer Tio Hardiman, calling for investment on the South and West Sides. "We need some resources."
"We came here to redistribute the pain in Chicago," he told the Chicago Sun-Times as the march reached Wrigley Field on the city's North Side. "People in this neighborhood don't feel the pain we feel every day, so we brought it to their doorstep."
"It's a tale of two cities," Rev. Gregory Livingston, another lead organizer, explained to USA Today. "One of the hardest things to do is inspire the uninspired. Sometimes you have to stick your neck out, have some skin in the game and get people to recognize that there are some people here are that trying to do something."
As the ChicagoTribune noted, the demonstration on Thursday followed a July 7 march organized by Rev. Michael Pfleger, which "shut down the northbound lanes of the Dan Ryan Expressway for an hour on a Saturday morning." While Emanuel endorsed Pfleger's event, the organizers of Thursday's march made it clear they did not want the mayor's support, even carrying a banner which read, "#ResignRahm: End the Tale of Two Cities. Justice for ALL Chicagoans!"
The march to Wrigley Field came ahead of a Cubs game and on the first day of the music festival Lollapalooza, which is held next to Lake Shore Drive a few miles south of the baseball park. Although march organizers had urged performers to refuse to participate in "a show of solidarity with marchers who can't afford Lollapalooza tickets but rather struggle to breathe under the looming shadows of death, poverty, and second-class citizenship," the festival went on as planned.
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