Protests calling for police reforms, policies to address racism continue in Chicago

George Floyd
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CHICAGO — Protests calling for police reform and policies to address racism in America sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis continued in Chicago Sunday.

The city lifted its curfew in place since May 30 and restored CTA service and road access to downtown Sunday after days of peaceful protest in the city.

Peaceful protests continued in communities across the region throughout the day, including Evanston, Plainfield, Lombard, Waukegan and Lemont. In Maywood, some of the state’s most prominent African-American politicians gathered to call for police and justice reform along with major investments in the black business community.

Protesters also gathered at Cicero’s city hall before marching, stopping briefly for a sit-in in the middle of an intersection while speakers addressed the crowd. One week ago, violence in the town ended with two deaths and 60 arrests, but Sunday ended peaceably. 

Protesters gather in Evanston on Sunday

Hundreds of peaceful “Black Lives Matter” demonstrators marched near one of Chicago’s most pro-police neighborhoods Sunday, hoping their message of racial justice would be heard in somewhat hostile territory. 

Organizers said nearby Mount Greenwood, a mostly-white neighborhood on the city’s South Side that has seen its share of racial tension, is the part of the city that must start listening to the concerns of the black community.

“It needs to be heard in all parts of the city, from Chinatown to the West Side,” Morgan Park resident Katherine Landers said.

Among the protesters was 35-year-old Larry Howard, who grew up in the neighborhood and says he felt compelled to march down Western Avenue to bring his concerns home.

“I am a son of this neighborhood,” Howard said. “We are here not because all lives don’t matter. Until black lives matter, all lives can’t matter.”

The demonstration lasted nearly two hours as protesters walked from Western Avenue and 111th Street in West Morgan Park to Mount Hope Cemetery near 115th Street and Fairfield. Organizers called it the “I have a Black Son” march.

“I have a 25- and an 18-year-old, and every time they leave the house, I’m nervous,” said Linda Sneed, who lives in Roseland.

Parents in the crowd said they became protesters because they see a threat to their own children in George Floyd’s killing.

“He needs to know that in 2020, we are still facing racial inequality,” Shavon Freeman said.

Protesters are also seeking sweeping legislation that they call “a new policy on policing in America” that would mandate:

  • A ban on choke holds
  • A limit on “qualified immunity” for police officers
  • A national misconduct registry on police officers
  • A ban on “no-knock warrants” in drug cases
  • A federal law against lynching

Long-time resident Janice McClain stood on her front stoop and raised her fist in support of the march, saying she sees racial justice is on the horizon.  

“I am seeing love, I am seeing justice, I am seeing a revolution – I am seeing that black lives are finally going to matter,” she said.

Demonstrators say that these protests will continue, as will the push for police reform on the national level.

Earlier Sunday, hundreds took part in a peace walk on the South Side that ended with food distribution for people hurting after stores were shut down due to looting. 

Led by the organization My Block, My Hood, My City, the walk began at 79th Street and south Cottage Grove Avenue. Hundreds of walkers, some carrying signs with victims’ names, made the fourteen block trek.

 After passing business after business devastated by last weekend’s not-so-peaceful events, they marched to 78th Avenue and south State Street, where volunteers set up a food distribution site.

Volunteers offered free food for families suffering after their grocery and drug stores shut down because of looting.

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