On a chilly night on April 2 in Chicago hundreds of people took to the streets to remember the 50 year anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and to demand justice for Stephon Clark, Alton Sterling, Rekia Boyd, Laquan Macdonald, Justus Howell, and all victims of racist police violence. The rally was initiated by Black Lives Matter Women of Faith and ANSWER Chicago, and co-sponsored by Black Lives Matter of Lake County, Freedom First International, and Anakbayan Chicago.
A multinational crowd rallied at the historic Water Tower in downtown Chicago in solidarity with Sacramento and against the lynching of Stephon Clark. Speakers tied together a variety of struggles and expressed a deep desire to build the kind of movement that can bring an end to the institutionalized violence against Black and Brown communities.
Love, a member of Anakbayan Chicago, a youth-led Filipino liberation organization, spoke about the repression of Black and Brown communities. She said “our histories, our struggles, and our victories are intertwined!” Gregg Greer of Freedom First International also spoke, demanding the police be disarmed. “These murders of innocent people have got to stop! We have to come together and say when one of us is under attack, we stand up and fight back!”
The spirit of solidarity carried the protesters through their march down Michigan avenue and to the site of Trump Tower in Chicago. The crowd chanted “16 shots and a cover up” in reference to the murder of Laquan Macdonald and subsequent cover up and suppression of the video tape by Rahm Emmanuel. One person held a sign saying “Blame the system for the violence – at home and abroad!” as the crowd chanted “Money for jobs and education, not for wars and occupation!”
During the march to Trump Tower, a few of the speakers stopped to address the crowd. John Beacham, of ANSWER Chicago, pointed out the police who were present at the march. “Look at what they are protecting. They are here to protect property. They are not here to protect the people!” Clyde McLemore from Black Lives Matter of Lake County also addressed the crowd briefly to address the need for a multinational movement to fight back against police violence. The march continued with a call-and-answer chant of “Black Lives what?” “Black Lives Matter!”
As the crowd reached Trump Tower, Lashawn Littrice of Black Lives Matter Women of Faith closed out the rally. The spirit of solidarity was strong at this protest with many speakers and individuals expressing a desire to work together to fight back against oppression.
We demand an end to the war on Black America. We demand power to all oppressed communities! Justice for Stephon Clark and all victims of racist police violence!