EAST SIDE — In a push for solidarity and awareness, a group of community members gathered for a Black Lives Matter march in the East Side neighborhood Sunday, demanding an end to police brutality and defunding and removing of the Chicago Police Department in CPS schools.
The East Side Black Lives Matter Solidarity March began at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at 10049 S. Indianapolis Ave. and ended at Eggers Grove on 112th and Avenue B with speeches and chants.
Organizers used the march to bring together surrounding neighborhoods, which include: South Chicago, South Deering and Hegewisch.
“We’re here to talk about Black Lives Matter, how they matter when you’re gay, trans, female, non binary, when you’re poor, rich, when you have a criminal record and or when you have a PhD,” said Manuel, one of the community activists at the march. “In the society that we live in we still deem Black and Brown bodies as disposable, from the moment Columbus stepped onto this continent it has been nothing but genocide to Natives and imprisonment to Blacks.”
With about 70 protesters, many expressed their disdain to see nearly 15 police cars and around 30 police officers at the march.
The march held three “teach-in” sessions with topics varying from “Intro to BLM” and “Anti-Blackness in Latinx communities” to “Environmental Racism.”
For the second stop, protesters took to the streets and closed off the intersection of 106th and Ewing. Despite police efforts to keep protesters on the sidewalk, they were able to occupy the streets beginning at 107th and Ewing.
In addition to defunding police, community activists and protesters demanded:
- Accountability for police murder and torture
- Investment in community resources
- No police in schools
- Justice for all killed by police
- The closure of Homan Square
“Life is precious, life is fragile, life is beautiful and life is worth living. Life deserves to be lived no matter what color, what age, where you’re from, who you decide to love, who you are on the inside and how you choose to reflect that on your exterior, your life matters,” said Cristal Shavaun Coleman.
Coleman spoke about how many dismiss the racism in the country that has led to mass incarceration of Black and Brown people and has impacted access to fresh produce, resources and better education.
“Can we admit that Black men like George Floyd, Philando Castile and Black women like Rekia Boyd, Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor and Black children are being killed because of an irrational fear due to the color of their skin,” asked Coleman.