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SOUTH CHICAGO — In an act of solidarity and unity, more than 200 people gathered for a Black Lives Matter March in the South Chicago neighborhood Friday, demanding not only an end to police brutality but for unity between Black and Latino communities.
Organized in collaboration between youth in the community and the Southeast Youth Alliance organization, the SE Youth in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter March began at 5:30 p.m. Friday on 86th Street and Commercial Avenue and ended at the corner of 100th Street and Commercial Avenue with motivational speeches and chants as protesters took a knee.
“Youth reached out to us, and said ‘We are upset, we are angry, we are full of frustration, we are tired of this, we want to alleviate the tension that we have in these communities,” said Oscar Sanchez. “This is not just for us, it’s for the current and future generation that’s going to be living here.”
The Southeast Side has had a changing demographic since its establishment. When U.S. Steel Corporation acquired South Works in 1901, Poles, Italians, African Americans and Latinos moved to the area. Eventually this demographic shifted and now the Southeast is about 50 percent Latino and around 30 percent African American.
Speakers at the event said it was important to address the issue of anti-Black racism in Latino communities.
“It’s extremely important to bring back that solidarity that we’ve had for years,” said Sanchez. “They are a part of our lives and a part of our history, and that’s the mentality we should have today, these are our Black brothers and sisters.”
Maritza Darling-Ramos, a Southeast Side resident, spoke about growing up as an Afro-Latina living in a Hispanic household and addressed the crowd when saying that anti-Black racism in the community had to stop.
“I have grown up hearing anti-Black comments from my own family and being half Black and Mexican I experience the struggle of my older family members only being interested in the half they can relate to,”said Darling-Ramos. “I’m here to amend for peace and show that my Black life matters.”
The march had various speakers including U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, State Rep. Kam Buckner, State Sen. Robert Peters and Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th).
“We’re not looking for saviors, we are the saviors; in this moment, with COVID and economic depression, police violence and racism, we do have a choice,” said Senator Peters. “It can either be more control or we can have more democracy and it can look like us.”
Los candidatos han presentado planes radicalmente distintos para combatir la delincuencia, mejorar el rendimiento de las escuelas públicas y obtener nuevos ingresos municipales. La segunda vuelta electoral será el 4 de abril.