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These South Side Peace Marches Aim To Empower Black Mothers, Feed Those In Need

One organizer is calling for people to meet 3-5 p.m. Friday at 51st Street and Cottage Grove Avenue.

Esme' and Danae Lagard hold signs with their father, Derek Wallace, on May 30, 2020 as protests occurred downtown Chicago for the second day and night in a row following George Floyd's death in Minneapolis earlier this week. | Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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WASHINGTON PARK — Two peaceful demonstrations are happening on the South Side this weekend.

On Friday, Mama’s Of The Movement is organizing a march in Washington Park in response to police violence. Activist and educator Tanikia Carpenter said the demonstration was borne from the frustration of Black mothers feeling left behind when it came to the cause.

Carpenter is calling for people to meet 3-5 p.m. Friday at 51st Street and Cottage Grove Avenue. The group will march to DuSable Museum.

“I have a 2-year old, and prior to becoming a mom I was out in the front lines, organizing, doing my part as a Black citizen of Chicago,” Carpenter said. “When she came, the game changed. I have to be safe. I have to make sure she has a mom.”

Carpenter found a lot of Black mothers shared the same concerns. She felt it was time to create a family-centered march, one that welcomed children and parents and promoted Black motherhood.

“Whether a child dies of police brutality, or a grown man like George Floyd, that’s still somebody’s baby. When he called out for his mom, all of the moms felt that. This is our response. We are here, we are present. These are our Black babies dying in the street,” Carpenter said.

Mama’s Of the Movement has a list of demands, calling for police officers to have four-year degrees (with Africana studies made a graduation requirement), community training and racial reconciliation training. Journalist Natalie Moore’s book, “The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation,” should be required reading as well, Carpenter said.

“We have people policing our community, and at the end of the day they go back their own communities,” Carpenter said. “We want officers to live and work in the community so they can see us outside of the uniform. See us for who we are.”

Most of the city’s police officers live on the edges of the city. Neighborhoods like Mount Greenwood, Edison Park and Norwood Park have a high number of city workers and first responders. They also have a low number of Black residents. An initiative created by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2018 to provide financial incentives for officers to buy homes in underserved areas fell flat.

Still, Carpenter thinks it’s an important first step to repairing the trust between Black residents and law enforcement. Whether you’re a mother or not, the deaths of Black sons and daughters affect us all, she said.

“Some of us may not be mothers, but we have mothering spirits. So many Black women — whether they have their own biological children or not — have mothered these communities, have mothered these movements. Coretta Scott King ethic, Fannie Lou Hamer … we are literally the backbone of it,”Carpenter said.

On Sunday, My Block My Hood My City will hold a Peace Walk on 79th Street in solidarity with George Floyd and all the families affected by police violence. Marchers will assemble at 10 a.m. at the intersection of 79th and and Cottage Grove Avenue and march west to 7801 S. State St., where the organization will give out 1,000 meals to residents.

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