On the afternoon of Sept. 26 over 500 protesters gathered on the campus of Loyal University in Chicago to demand justice for Black people murdered by the police. The protest was organized by Black students at Loyola in the wake of yet another slew of brutal police murders of Keith Lamont Scott, Terence Crutcher and Tyre King. The crowd was composed of students, faculty, and community members of all races.
Students have faced persecution by the Loyola administration for Black Lives Matter protests in the recent past. It is very encouraging and should be seen for the brave act that it is that students at the campus took the initiative to bring together the biggest show of force in Chicago against the most recent revelations of police terror.
The protest began as a rally during which the organizers spoke to the crowd about the reality of life as a Black american and the ever-present fear of being murdered by the police. The organizers criticized Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel for his recent pledge to hire 1000 new police officers over the next two years, pointing out that the funds to do so could be spent on education rather than strengthening the heavily armed police force occupying Chicago’s Black communities.
The protesters then marched through the streets around the university, blocking traffic and staging a sit-in at a busy intersection. During the march one woman told me she had never attended a protest before but felt that this was too important not to attend. Another protester told me that what was said during the rally and march was more important than anything that would be said by either presidential candidate during the evening’s debate.
The march wrapped back around to the site of the initial rally, at which point protesters formed a ‘circle of healing’ in order to continue chanting and to listen to songs and poetry. Before inviting speak-outs from the crowd to conclude the protest, the organizers read a lengthy list of Black people murdered by the police. After each name was read the crowd chanted, “They matter!”