Chicago Anti-Violence Activists Shut Down Lake Shore Drive

Chicago anti-violence activists shut down Lake Shore Drive Thursday afternoon before marching to Wrigley Field to draw attention to gun violence, crime, and other issues afflicting resource-starved neighborhoods in the city.

Photo by Aaron Cynic

“There are too many killings in Chicago, there are too many police-involved killings in Chicago,” said Tio Hardiman, one of the demonstration’s organizers. “It’s time to change the narrative in Chicago.”

Both Hardiman and co-organizer Gregory Livingston said they brought the protest to the north side of the city to not only highlight the disparity between affluent, white areas and black and brown neighborhoods, but to try to force a conversation about it to take place in an area that often ignores it.

Photo by Rick Majewski

“We are going down commercial strips and if people are upset about us disturbing their entertainment and their cafe life, human life is more important than recreation,” said Livingston when organizers announced the march more than a week prior, adding that they wanted to “redistribute the pain in Chicago.”

Just before the group marched onto an onramp of Lake Shore Drive from a nearby park, Livingston reiterated that point.

Photo by Aaron Cynic

“In disadvantaged and challenged neighborhoods the cries of the people are ignored…in better neighborhoods they’re heard,” he said. “It’s a tale of two cities. One of the hardest things to do is inspire the uninspired. Sometimes you have to stick your neck out, have some skin in the game and get people to recognize that there are some people here that are trying to do something.”

 

Activists in Chicago have spent years trying to call attention to the lack of resources for neighborhoods of color, which are primarily located on the South and West sides of the city. Revitalization efforts in Chicago, many of which are often paid for through Tax Increment Financing, are often directed towards the downtown Loop area or areas like Lakeview and Wrigleyville, despite those neighborhoods already being well-off. Meanwhile South and West side neighborhoods have seen a record number of school closures, mental health clinic closures, and police shootings over the past few years.

Hardiman said he had hoped for 500 demonstrators to join the march, while police estimated the crowd size around 150, though at times the crowd appeared to increase beyond 200. Police presence was heavy throughout the neighborhood, with patrol cars parked on nearly every street corner well in advance of the march, and a mounted unit stationed at a barricade in front of Wrigley Field.

Photo by Aaron Cynic

Despite a week’s worth of headlines and news stories that often chose to either highlight the tension the protest could create in the area or outright scare tactics, no arrests were made and no damage was reported to any businesses in the area. Protesters instead did exactly what they planned – marched, chanted, prayed, sang, and chalked messages on both the Drive and in front of Wrigley Field.

Photo by Aaron Cynic

“It is time for us to pray, to pray for our city,” said  Livingston, in front of the police barricades at the stadium. “We’ve got multimillionaires inside this stadium, but we have God’s people out here.”

Photo by Aaron Cynic
Photo by Aaron Cynic
Photo by Aaron Cynic
Photo by Aaron Cynic
Photo by Aaron Cynic
Photo by Aaron Cynic
Photo by Aaron Cynic
Photo by Rick Majewski
Photo by Rick Majewski
Photo by Rick Majewski

2 Comments Add yours

  1. A Lindstrom says:

    Great work, Aaron. Would love to know how people/biz along the March route felt about it. Did the marchers plight move any of the onlookers? Hard to get during the March but maybe not too late to get that side, too. Really curious. -a

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