Local leaders call for peaceful protests, measures to address institutional racism

Chicago News
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CHICAGO — With the City of Big Shoulders badly bruised, local leaders pleaded for peaceful demonstrations while pledging to take on institutional racism Tuesday.

“We must seize this moment and try to bring freedom and justice to every American, but we cannot do this by destroying our communities,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said during a press conference Tuesday.

For days, leaders have tried to convey that they hear the anger of protesters, while at the same time expressing they have no tolerance for destruction and looting.

“A lot of this rage has been locked up for a while and what we’re asking now is that you don’t destroy your own communities,” said Apostle Carl White, Christian International Ministries.

Jahmal Cole, My Block, My Hood, My City, said there’s a way to “resist constructively” while showing force, which is different than violence.

“I don’t know who’s saying it’s soft; Protesting peacefully is forceful. You can put pressure on institutions to address issues we care about,” Cole said.

Frustrated that businesses set to reopen after being shuttered by COVID-19 are now boarding up and cleaning up instead, Governor Pritzker promised to support rebuilding efforts while saying everyone must work to end institutional racism.

“We have to rebuild. We needed to rebuild before this took place, now we have to make double the effort,” Pritzker said. “Real change — structural change — comes from protest paired with policy.”

The policies Pritzker says he’s referring to include police reform and sustained economic investment in black and brown communities.

As Mayor Lightfoot works with police to restore order, she dismissed President Trump’s threat to send in the U.S. Military Tuesday.

The mayor says residents should not overreact because President Trump likes to bluster. Bottom line is she says the military is not going to roam Chicago streets.

“That’s not going to happen. I will see him in court,” Lightfoot said.

Governor Pritzker also said: no way.

“It wouldn’t be appropriate for the National Guard to come in and take over somehow,” Pritzker said.

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