Chicago, IL – 500 people marched on the Magnificent Mile the night of Oct. 22, to send a message to the 1% that backs Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Two years ago, racist cop Jason Van Dyke murdered 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. The protest was held to mark that anniversary. The marchers demanded “Justice for Laquan” and community control of the police through an elected, civilian police accountability council (CPAC).
According to Frank Chapman, Field Organizer for the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, “We call for a boycott of Black Friday this Nov. 25. In support of our demand that the city council enact CPAC we are calling upon all the freedom loving people of Chicago to join us in boycotting the Magnificent Mile on Black Friday.”
“This march is a sign of what’s to come,” said Mike Elliott, Chair of the Labor Committee of the Alliance. The Magnificent Mile of North Michigan Avenue is one of the wealthiest shopping districts in the country. Last year, thousands of protesters flocked there the day after Thanksgiving to disrupt shopping after the release of the video of the cop murder of Laquan. This year again, the Alliance will lead a mass march there.
Many of the marchers were with the International League of People’s Struggle – U.S. Chapter (ILPS). ILPS held a national conference during the day, and initiated the march. Bernadette Ellorin, Chair of BAYAN – USA, an organization of patriotic Filipinos fighting for national democracy in their homeland, and a member group of ILPS, spoke at the rally in Millennium Park before marching. “We stand in firm solidarity with the struggle for community control of the police, and the Black Liberation struggle demanding genuine social, economic and political change in the U.S.. Tonight we are in the streets to demand Justice for Laquan McDonald on the second year anniversary of his murder. End state repression! Down with imperialism.” Then Joelle Lingat led the crowd chanting, “Long live international solidarity!”
Also at the protest was the hip-hop artist, Vic Mensa, who was releasing a video that same day called #16Shots. He had intended to show the video during the protest, using a van with a mounted screen. The Chicago Police were aggressive, refusing to allow Mensa’s van to stop or even drive along with the video playing during the march.
Mensa spoke twice during the protest, at the beginning and the end. At the beginning of the protest, he denounced Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s police accountability legislation, recently passed in city council. “This is phony, it won’t hold the police accountable. The people need civilian control of the police.” At the end of the night, he spoke again, first performing the song acapella. He was joined by about 100 young people who had come in response to his tweets to join the protest. They performed the song to the line of cops pressing against the crowd. At the end of the rap, Mensa said to the crowd, “These cops won’t stop shooting us and getting away with it until we have CPAC.”