After witnessing Judge Bruce Schroeder’s brazen acts to tilt the jury in Kyle Rittenhouse’s favor and Rittenhouse’s ultimate acquittal, dozens took the streets on Nov. 19 in a protest organized by PSL Chicago.
Organizer Dave Power started the proceedings in Federal Plaza with a moment of silence for Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, the two men murdered by Rittenhouse. He noted that the men were fighting injustice just like the protesters at the action. He ended with a call for hope and continued struggle, saying, “We must lean into the anger and use it to propel us forward. We have seen that only when we force the situation by putting intense pressure on the system do we see justice.”
Shabbir Manjee, also with PSL, said, “Know your enemy, name your enemy, study how to defeat your enemy or else you will be running in circles. Our enemy is the capitalist system.” Manjee led those gathered in the chant, “The justice system, shut it down!”
A protester who gave his name as Martin L told Liberation News that he came to the event because he saw the verdict and had been following the case closely. “It’s amazing that with all the marches last year things have gotten worse. There’s been some victories, but overall things just keep getting worse. I felt like I had to do something,” he said.
Another protester said, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. I’m tired of being out here. But we have to keep fighting.”
The organizers led the crowd to take the streets and march towards Millennium Park, where they occupied the intersection of Madison St. and Michigan Ave. with a speak out. One speaker noted that white supremacist vigilantism is nothing new to the United States. Another pointed out that the United States is a country built on slavery and genocide, and these injustices cannot be defeated until we defeat the capitalism system that drives them.
A protester here told Liberation News that the court system is full of racist judges like Judge Schroeder and that, “if there’s one thing to take away from this, it’s that there’s not a single fair court in this whole country. That means our struggle isn’t against this one decision or one judge. It’s against the whole white supremacist, capitalist system.”
As the protesters took turns speaking on the bullhorn, people leaving the Millennium Park Christmas tree lighting ceremony passed by, and many joined the protest. The crowd shouted in agreement when Rabbi Michael Ben Yosef likened Kyle Rittenhouse’s white supremacist vigilantism to the lynching of Emmett Till. It has been over 65 years since the 14-year-old from Chicago was murdered in Mississippi and his killers have still evaded justice.
The protesters marched back to Federal Plaza where PSL organizer Candice Choo-Kang gave some final words. “They’ve seen what we can accomplish when we work together in a united, multinational, multiracial, multigender movement that is fighting against this racist system. They’ve seen how we can shake the foundations of society with righteous anger. And they’re right to fear us because we will be the ones to defeat them.”
Feature photo: Activists take to the streets of Chicago, Nov. 19 to protest the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse. Liberation photo