Laquan McDonald Protesters Plan To Shut Down Chicago's Black Friday
A clear strategy on the part of anti-police violence and racial justice protesters recently has been their unapologetic insistence that their message be heard, even if it might inconvenience people. They've made their presence felt at sporting events and political rallies, and on city streets and freeways alike, operating on a pretty basic principle: when you're facing an existential threat like violence at the hands of the police, you don't just ask for attention, you demand it. And it sounds like Friday will be no different: Laquan McDonald protesters will shut down Chicago's Black Friday shopping district, according to ABC 7 News.
The 17-year-old McDonald was slain last year by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, and it took until Tuesday for the video of his death to finally be made public. Contrary to the initial claims of Chicago police officials in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, which claimed that the teen had "lunged" at Van Dyke with a knife was carrying, the footage showed McDonald was actually moving away from Van Dyke when the shots were fired, and at a distance of several feet. McDonald was shot 16 times in total, the majority of which he sustained while on the ground.
The video going public, as well as the murder charges filed against Van Dyke, have shone a bright light on the city of Chicago, further fueling protests by activists, particularly the Black Lives Matter movement. And, as the Chicago Tribune details, there figures to be a big show of solidarity on Friday — protesters are expected to descend right into the thick of the city's "Magnificent Mile" shopping district.
It's expected that Chicago Teacher's Union President Karen Lewis will be attending the protests — as the Chicago Sun-Times details, she explained to thousands of her union members why she was joining the protests. At a rally earlier this week, she said that "it is time to turn our pain into power," and that she was "appalled at the level of leadership exhibited by city officials in this case." One of the protesters arrested in Tuesday night's demonstrations, Johnaé Strong, is a teacher in the Chicago public school system.
In short, whether you're planning to join the Black Friday protests yourself, or whether you're concerned about the ensuing snarl they could cause, it'll benefit you to know the when and where: according to the Chicago Tribune, protesters will be gathering at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive at 11:00 a.m. local time (that's Central Standard Time, if you're following from afar).