On June 18, hundreds of people from all over the city of Chicago met at RonnieMan Park on the Southside (53rd and S King Drive) to march against the denial of justice to the family of Philando Castile, who was murdered by police in Falcon Heights, Minnesota July 6th of last year.
The obscene but unsurprising verdict of “not guilty” sparked demonstrations of thousands in Minnesota and now hundreds gathered in Chicago to stand in solidarity. The park was dubbed RonnieMan Park in memory of Ronald “RonnieMan” Johnson who was murdered by Chicago police there, then lied about and denied justice.
Ronald Johnson’s mother spoke to the crowd about her empathy for Philando Castile’s mother, her shared pain in the loss of their children to racist murderer cops and the denial of justice that followed. “The system is okay with it, but he has a fighting mother that’s still alive and I’m gonna keep on fighting. If anybody knows Philando’s mom tell her Ronald Johnson’s mom feels her pain and I support her 100%. Let’s get this fight started.” The march took place on Father’s day. Both Ronald Johnson and Philando Castile were fathers.
Other speakers spoke out against the injustice and fundamentally white supremacist nature of U.S. police and the U.S. criminal “justice” system as a whole. Historian and long time activist in the struggle against racism and oppression Dr. Barbara Ransby called for an end to racist capitalism, calling attention to the connections between state violence, street violence, and poverty. Ransby called the Fight for 15 a mere drop in the bucket as far as what is needed in terms of economic justice, but noted that every single drop in the struggle cumulatively and collectively begins to fill the bucket. Ransby discussed the significance of both Soweto day, a commemoration of anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa that came two days before the march, and Juneteenth, a commemoration of the abolition of chattel slavery in Texas, which falls on the day after the march.
Members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation attended the march, which was organized by Black Lives Matter Chicago and the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. The march was also endorsed by many organizations including the ANSWER Coalition in Chicago. Demonstrators gathered at the park at 3 PM. After multiple people spoke out on the injustice, the strikingly multinational march proceeded, led by Black people and LGBT people. People in houses and on porches and barbecuing in parks all along the march route shouted support and gave raised fist salutes.
Justice for Philando! Black Lives Matter will win!