A Note from Rev. Alexander E. Sharp, CNDP Executive Director:
Rather than spending Thanksgiving celebrating, the events that have transpired in Chicago called us to spend the holiday protesting. The demonstrations surrounding the shooting of Laquan McDonald are not directly connected to drug policy and the mission of CNDP, but they have struck at the heart of this city. We could not ignore them here. The theme connecting both blogs in this newsletter is institutional racism. Why this term? Because there can be no doubt that the Chicago Police Department, and the Cook County criminal justice system, would function very differently if shooting victims on the streets of Chicago, and those incarcerated unjustly, were predominantly white.
Faithfully, Rev. Alexander E. Sharp
Non-Violent Protests in Chicago
Protest and Prayer Vigil, Chicago Police Headquarters, 11/30/2015
Recent blog post by Rev. Alexander E. Sharp -
On the morning of Black Friday, a crowd of over 2,000 marched through Chicago’s iconic shopping district, stopping traffic on Michigan Avenue’s “Magnificent Mile.” Many protesters spent the afternoon blocking shoppers from entering stores. All of this could have erupted into violence and mass arrests. It did not.
On Monday evening, religious leaders held a prayer vigil on the steps of Chicago Police Headquarters. Among the crowd of over 300, there was not the slightest hint of violence. Clergy called for unity. Those present held hands and prayed and, after about an hour, dispersed quietly into the night.
There have been other events, including at least 100 protesters who convened at noon Tuesday outside Mayor Emanuel’s office in City Hall. They taped sheets of paper with red handprints on them to his glass door to symbolize that the blood of Laquan McDonald is “on his hands.” The outrage fueling these protests is clear. But I think there might be a deeper reason.
Have you ever known something to be true, and then felt that you were discovering it again for the first time? Grief can be like this: you think you have come to terms with a loss, and then realize you have not. This happened to me last week as I reread Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.