Saturday, December 06, 2014

Takin' It to the Streets: A Friend's First-Hand Account as Chicago Comes Alive in Protest on Thursday Night

Photo Credit: @soit_goes
This article was written by a friend of mine and initially published on

I reprint it with permission, happy to have other voices represented on SethSaith about matters I find important.

CHICAGO, Dec. 4, 2014 -  “Time has come today,” sang the Chambers Brothers in a '60s rock classic.

This could be the soundtrack for Chicago tonight. Tonight—a new night!

Provoked by the decision of a grand jury in New York City not to indict a white officer in the "caught on video" chokehold death of a black man named Eric Garner, just days after Ferguson, MO policeman Darren Wilson was exonerated by a grand jury in the shooting death of Michael Brown, at least 1,000 people gathered on the same downtown corner of State and Jackson that saw not many more than twenty the night before.

Photo Credit:
The protesters, of different nationalities and backgrounds, soon surged forward into the street, refusing to let the cops push them onto the sidewalk. People kept up a fast march for miles on downtown and near downtown streets. They stopped to shutdown major intersections, sitting down and chanting. Then just as swiftly, on their feet and marching again.

There was method to the seemingly meandering route—as marchers reached the I-90/I-94 interstate overpass on Roosevelt Ave., hundreds ran for the on-ramp. A few reached the highway itself, and briefly stopped traffic during the busy rush hour.

But they were pulled back by the cops, who also massed and prevented protesters from reaching the highway. People headed back the other way, sitting down at the intersection and blocking the off-ramp, effectively backing up highway traffic for miles.

Motorists in cars on the surface street that were blocked and stalled by the protest were generally supportive. They honked their horns in unison with the chants from the crowd, they pumped their fists out of vehicle windows. One young Black man in a van stalled at the edge of the crowd sat out of the van window. He waved a copy of Revolution newspaper and yelled:

 “What is it going to take for this to end?”

Photo Credit: @soit_goes
The crowd took up his call as a chant. People then headed back east toward downtown again. They made their way back to State St. and eventually made it onto Lake Shore Drive (a major north-south thoroughfare along Lake Michigan), shutting it down!

There was a long stand-off as the cops set up a line to confront the people. Finally, they pushed people back off the Drive. People took off again, taking the street on the “Magnificent Mile,” the upscale shopping mecca of North Michigan Avenue.

As this is being written at 10 pm, and according to the live TV news, marchers are still in the streets in downtown Chicago!

As the revolutionary band Outernational sings, “We own the night!”

Photo Credit: @soit_goes

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