LITTLE VILLAGE — Latino leaders are calling for unity after Black Chicagoans have been harassed and had bricks thrown at their cars in some Latino neighborhoods.
On Sunday afternoon, Little Village neighbors came together to protect 26th Street businesses after people looted shops. Ald. Michael Rodriguez (22nd) said as the night went on, a few Latino men became “antagonistic” and were indiscriminately targeting Black people driving through the neighborhood.
In a video posted to Facebook, four Black women and a child driving through Little Village near Kedzie Avenue and Cermak Road Sunday had their car hit three times with bat as men stood in the street. A car was burning in the background.
In another video posted to Twitter, Latino men stood at the corner of Kedzie and Cermak, some with baseball bats, throwing items at cars as the drove by. Those items included bricks, Rodriguez said. A car was burning and other drivers attempted to dodge items launched in their direction.
“So these guys tried to come rob around the area,” a woman says in the video.
On Monday evening, Rodriguez said he witnessed a young Black couple driving on Kedzie go through a “gauntlet” with people throwing things at their car. The Black couple were in Little Village to patronize a local business, he said.
“It was terrible. They looked so frightened,” he said.
According to leaders in the area, some of the Latino men guarding Little Village are members of the Latin Kings street gang.
In suburban Cicero, video Monday showed dozens of people looting the El Patron liquor store, according to CBS 2. One man believed to be looting the store was caught by police with a gun. Two bystanders were shot and killed in another incident at 50th Avenue and Cermak Road.
In a Facebook Live video shot at 50th and Cermak in Cicero at 7 p.m. Monday, groups of people with bats and metal pipes were gathering near the intersection.
“Non-Black, Latinx gangs [are] armed with bats, machetes,” said Luz Chavez, who shot the video. “Any car that passes by with Black people in it, they are yelling at it and throwing s—,” she said.
Chavez, founder of online magazine Gozamos, urged Black people to “stay out of Cicero.”
About four minutes into the video, gunfire goes off. It’s unclear who is shot.
“Someone just got shot,” Chavez said, as dozens of people rush down the block. “Now there’s a bunch of armed people there.”
Chavez then interviews a Dominican woman who lives in the neighborhood as police sirens blare.
“I’m sorry this is happening,” Chavez said to the woman.
What started as a protest against police brutality and the loss of George Floyd’s life in Minneapolis has been lost, Rodriguez said.
“The Latinx community needs to support our African American brothers and sisters. If any of our community are out of line, we need to call it out,” Rodriguez said.
Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th), who represents parts of Back of the Yards and West Englewood, said some of the Black people being targeted live in the Latinx neighborhoods people are protecting.
“Don’t act like you’re checking ID’s to see who lives where when ‘defending our hood,'” Lopez said.
Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th), who represents Pilsen, said he’s also received reports of Black neighbors being harassed.
“We love our Black residents, we love our Black community,” he wrote on Facebook. “…We will not tolerate…[harassment] of our Black neighbors.”
“…We [must] stand up together to the atrocity that we see. And harassment of our Black neighbors is an atrocity as well.”
Pastor Matt DeMateo with New Life Centers said neighbors organizing in Little Village want to protect businesses, not hurt Black Chicagoans.
After hearing Black Chicagoans were being harassed, outreach workers were on the street telling folks they can protect businesses without harming Black Chicagoans, Pastor Matt DeMateo with New Life Centers said.
“This isn’t an anti-Black movement,” he said.
“We are fighting for peace at all levels. We are fighting a pandemic. We are fighting the violence in our community. We are fighting now the challenges of everything that happened in the last week,” he said.
The targeted harassment of Black people people driving through Latino neighborhoods is “unacceptable,” he said.
“We stand with our Black brothers and sisters…We are in this struggle together,” he said.
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