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Monday, January 18, 2016

This past weekend's protest

Been having a rough time here in Chicago. In the past two months Chicago has seen increased protests thanks to first the Laquan McDonald story. He was shown on video being shot 16 times by a Chicago policeman who has been indicted in this incident.

I wrote over at The Sixth Ward about the protests that took place in downtown Chicago on Black Friday. Protestors shut down many of the shopping destinations on the Magnificent Mile not long after the release of police video in the McDonald case.

And here they still protest. Yesterday activists took to a police credit union on the city's west side for more protests. It wasn't just about police brutality or possibly unjustified police shootings:
The protesters said they had an additional mission: To reconfirm the values of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Monday's federal holiday honoring him comes at a tumultuous time for Chicago's race relations, as city officials deal with the aftermath of the Laquan McDonald police shooting scandal and work to change a long-standing policy of keeping video evidence in police shootings under wraps.

The march on the Near West Side was intended to bring awareness about King’s belief that political equality can't be achieved without social and economic equality. Protesters called for black workers' rights, open housing for blacks, the revitalization of black communities and viable jobs.

Protester Gabe Frankel, of the Ravenswood neighborhood, said marching the day after the anniversary of King's birthday was meaningful, particularly after this week's release of surveillance video from the January 2013 police shooting of 17-year-old Cedrick Chatman.

"It's time to step back and reflect to see if we're meeting the pillars of (King's) goals," he said. "I think we're failing miserably."

In addition to protesting police brutality, dozens of activists joined the march to advocate for workers' rights, asking for people of all education and experience to have access to parental leave, paid sick leave, the right to unionize without retaliation and protections against discrimination based on race, gender, past drug offenses or incarceration.
This is how you draw many protesters not just 20 or 25. You probably do have to bring in many people with different ideas. So not just police brutality, but other social justice causes regarding employment or economic rights.

It almost reminds me of the Protest Warrior days - can't believe that site is still up. The protests recorded there were largely "peace" marches but they had an agenda which again took up social justice causes. I recall them talking about education, welfare, health care and they were at a peace march.

This underscores the point:
Kejioun Johnson, a McDonald's employee living in the Roseland neighborhood, said black communities won't be stabilized until black workers begin receiving fair and equal treatment.

"Low income, low-wage jobs and race (at Chicago's fast-food restaurants) are one and the same," he said. "Organizations like McDonald's suck our community dry. Today, we're here to reclaim history and continue fighting for our communities."
I see... This gives me a facepalm although I recognize that if this is truly a grass roots effort it's possible organizers weren't entirely able to do their homework.
Protesters succeeded in closing the credit union for regular business, but they had done so because they believed they were "shutting down a privately owned bank that the FOP is housed in," Pagan said during the protest. The union, however, is housed in a building across the street.
In this nation to protest various causes is a right. It means there are those of us who don't like the fact that they protest. Sometimes though protests and activism results in change. Question is what kind of change are these activists seeking and what do they accomplish by shutting down a police credit union?

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