In the early evening of July 7 over 500 protesters gathered outside a Chicago police station and criminal court in the rain to protest the recent murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, black men executed by police officers. Both murders were captured on film and have reignited the nationwide struggle against the brutal racism of police in the United States and the immunity they enjoy from prosecution or punishment.
The protesters initially rallied outside the police station before beginning a march through local roads, blocking traffic while chanting, “Racism means we got to fight back!” and “No justice, no peace! No racist police!”
The protest was composed of women and men of all races and ages. Justice, a fifteen year old high school student said that she and her entire family were at the protest because, “We are tired of racist killings, the fact they can do it over and over again … it just needs to stop.”
When the marchers reached the ramp heading onto the Dan Ryan Expressway, the protesters locked arms and seized the opportunity to block the heavy rush hour traffic. In what has become a common tactic in the Black Lives Matter movement hundreds of people, many having never participated in direct action before, formed a human chain across the highway and declared that they would no longer tolerate the epidemic of modern lynching.
After blocking the highway for over twenty minutes, the protesters returned to local streets and marched back to the police station, where they again linked arms and formed a circle blocking a large intersection. They listened to speak-outs describing the reality of racism in Chicago and across the nation, then returned to chanting. At one point the crowd shouted in unison, “You can’t stop the revolution!”
As the protest wound down and the crowd dispersed, one veteran comrade turned to me and said that he had never before seen something like the current nationwide movement against police terror. “This is a multinational youth anti-racist movement. This has revolutionary potential.”