DIVEST, IMAGINE, INVEST: Chicago youth call on their city to divest from police and invest in environmental protections and resources for our communities
CHICAGO, IL — On Saturday, August 15th, Sunrise Movement Chicago and partner organizations held a rally and march in McKinley Park. Speakers talked about their experiences with Chicago’s continued investment in police and disinvestment in local communities, while attendees used chalk to write and draw their vision of a just and equitable future. “Our community already suffers some of the highest asthma and cancer rates in the city and MAT Asphalt only adds to the burden,” said Claudia Guzman of Southwest Environmental Alliance. “Prior to the rally, Alderman George Cardenas retweeted a racist tweet where he referred to the protestors as ‘Antifa’ and hoped we would get the same pushback [of increased police presence] that happened at Englewood [last week]. This tweet caused unnecessary fear and division in our community.”
Our organizations were met with an immediate police presence in the park. It was clear they intended to escalate our peaceful protest. Local activist, Jimmy Rothschild, was targeted and arrested by CPD for marching in the street with the rest of the crowd. He was held for multiple hours and ultimately charged with obstruction of traffic. “My arrest while marching calmly and peacefully was one small example of the way police have been escalating violence at protests across Chicago,” said Jimmy. “I feel relieved that no one else was taken into custody at our action yesterday — and particularly grateful that none of the young people of color marching alongside me were arrested.”
Our rally was one of multiple events that police deliberately escalated Saturday. Sunrise Chicago stands in solidarity with the demonstrators acting on their right to protest in Downtown Chicago. Black and Brown youth were kettled, beaten, and arrested by the police for taking to the streets. “CPD does not make us safer and actively works against the public health and safety of our communities,” said Isha Singh, Sunrise Chicago Actions Team Lead. After Saturday’s events, Sunrise Chicago remains strongly committed to defunding CPD and reinvesting those resources into our communities.