Local clergy see Black Lives Matter as chance for dialogue

28 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

An endorsement for #BlackLivesMatter to shut down all commerce in all cities.

Up to 2,000 people protesting police violence hit the streets of Chicago’s “Magnificent Mile” district on the busiest shopping day of the year, taking another step forward for a social justice movement emboldened by its impact on everything from college campuses to city halls. On a day usually defined by frenzied bargain hunting, Black Lives Matter protesters thronged downtown Seattle on Friday, calling for police accountability and decrying the deaths of African Americans at the hands of law-enforcement officers.

Police said they made four arrests and one officer suffered a dislocated shoulder when the crowd interfered with an arrest at the Pacific Place shopping area. Some protesters attempted to block store entrances while police on the scene formed barriers to keep them out while allowing shoppers to enter, NBC News reported. “Find a door, shut it down!” some activists shouted, according to the network. Oh joy, stuck late again at work to babysit these fools.” “This post is in no way a reflection of how members of the Portland Police Bureau view these community groups or their peaceful expression of free speech,” Henderson said in a statement. “Just as with any protest or demonstration, police will work to ensure a safe, secure and orderly event for all community members and to minimize disruptions to traffic.” The ‘Black Lives Matter, Not Black Friday’ march was to protest recent high-profile police killings of people of color around the nation and other police brutality, the event’s Facebook page says. It wasn’t as if they weren’t telegraphing their punches because organizers, including Jesse Jackson, had announced the disruptions days in advance.

The Black Friday protests in the luxury corridor are the continuation of simmering tensions in Chicago, where Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder on Tuesday in the killing of a 17-year-old named Laquan McDonald in October 2014. An estimated crowd of 700 people at times blocked traffic and tried to force its way into the Westlake Center and Pacific Place malls, only to be turned away by police. The protesters then marched from the Hall of Justice to Horton Plaza mall, where they wound their way through different levels of the mall holding up a yellow sign with “Black Lives Matter” written across it, chanting with their hands in the national “hands-up” protest gesture. North Precinct officer Hurlman was also reprimanded in September 2012, when he sent an email message on his patrol car’s mobile computer that went out to the entire police force by accident. Police officers guarding the Christmas tree would make flippant remarks that their batons were “dancing sticks” and parents would bemoan not being able to enter the mall -(despite news and press conferences announcing the large protest for the past two days).

Earlier in the day, shoppers at Macy’s local flagship store were taken aback when protesters poured onto the sales floor, chanting and hoisting signs as they wound past perfume counters and handbag displays. Marchers said they demonstrated to bring attention to what they say is excessive use of force by police officers that have killed blacks in officer- involved shootings. Thousands of people marched on Chicago’s most prestigious shopping street on Friday, disrupting business on one of the busiest U.S. retail days, to protest the shooting death of a black teenager by a white policeman and the city’s handling of the case.

Protesters also held a “die-in” in the middle of the street at Sixth Avenue and F Street where Lamontez Jones was shot and killed by two veteran SDPD officers on Oct. 20. The protests are placing Chicago, America’s third-largest city, in a familiar spot historically, as a hotbed for social justice movements ranging from violent Vietnam War protests and the “Battle of Michigan Avenue,” to the peaceful 2006 pro-immigration rallies that drew as many as half a million protesters into the Windy City. That despite the predominance of all white news reporters reporting on the protest, that despite interviews of kids who are sad last year because they couldn’t sing, that despite the Eiffel tower taking a recent historic precident to turn its lights out to pay respect to their dead, that despite the tug of war on doors between protesters and desparate store managers, that the protest signage and dissruption might give pause for thought that there is real pain out there in lives lost and that parents might educate their kids to witness a historical civil rights demonstration and efforts to achieve equality.

Several carried signs that read: “Black lives matter more than Black Friday.” “Everyone out here is getting their consumerism on and not paying attention to the things that matter,” said protester Jessica Smart. “They’re out here buying trinkets … when there’s more important things like racism.” Some of the tensest moments came when the surging crowd confronted cordons of police outside the malls. Jesse Jackson and several state elected officials, was a show of outrage over the October 2014 death of Laquan McDonald, 17, and what they see as racial bias in U.S. policing. In the aftermath of the officer-involved shooting, the officers involved were criticized for not deploying their department-issued body-worn cameras before making contact with Jones — a department policy. SDPD Chief Shelly Zimmerman came to the officers’ defense, saying the incident was rapidly evolving and they acted to protect themselves and the public. Indeed, the contrast between Chicago so far and the militarized police response in Ferguson last year highlights not just dramatic shifts in how US police respond to protesters, but also the maturing of a new civil rights movement into a deliberate and conscientious force that’s finding it more effective to target institutions and powerful politicians rather than police as a whole. “These activists in Chicago have been active, savvy people, unlike in Ferguson, where there’s not as long a history of protest activity around police matters,” says Michael Kazin, an expert on social movements at Georgetown University in Washington. “I think [activists] might be in part saying, ‘Look, we have to keep sort of relations with the police.

If anything, it needs to spread to every other major city in the nation which is run by liberal, Democrat, gun grabbing, heavy spending municipal governments. In terms of the McDonald case, activists are calling for a Justice Department probe, and the resignations of Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and prosecutor Anita Alvarez for their roles in the video being kept under wraps. “This is going to give an opportunity for all of Chicago to come out, demonstrate their outrage and their anger in a nonviolent way, (and) interrupt the economic engine of Black Friday,” the Rev. The portrayal of these protests which they get from CNN and their newspapers is so totally skewed on a regular basis that too many of them have no clue what they’re really dealing with.

Michael Pfleger, a Roman Catholic priest and prominent local activist, told the Associated Press. “In a sense the city was born in bloody protest: the 1812 Fort Dearborn Massacre, when Native Americans rose up and attacked soldiers departing from a fort built on land that was incorporated as the City of Chicago 25 years later,” longtime Chicago political consultant Don Rose writes in an essay. “Fast forward to the 1960s and we find that Chicago has become a virtual crucible of the social movements of the era.” Indeed, the protest culture has been so ingrained that the city council last year passed ordinances that required that large signs be registered before being waved. Cable news spokesmodels will continue to portray this as some sort of noble endeavor, justifying anything and everything that the BLM national network is up to. Protesters closed a stretch of Michigan Avenue and blocked would-be customers from entering high-end stores on Chicago’s famous Magnificent Mile, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

I saw it again this morning as CNN’s Victor Blackwell (normally a great anchor with an even, “just the facts” tone on most stories) described the activity as BLM “refusing to back down” and “fighting for justice” in the Laquan McDonald case. That’s obviously not what’s happening, but until the rank and file citizens get a first hand view of what’s being done in the name of “social justice” we’re not going to get anywhere. In a letter to city officials, the Downtown Seattle Association complained that protesters had scared shoppers away, prevented the children’s choir from performing, and brought on an “unfortunate hit to our reputation.” That’s the kind of pressure that protesters in Chicago hope to put on the city during a shopping weekend that for some retailers provides 20 percent of annual revenues. Perhaps he’s just an easily panicked individual who kept on firing long after he should have stopped and should never have been given a badge and a gun in the first place.

Either way, after a taser was requested but not available, facing down a suspect high on PCP and armed with a knife who had vandalized some vehicles and was staggering away from the scene, if Van Dyke had stopped after the first shot or two he might have had a case to defend himself. The boy was holding a pellet gun. “My son deserves the same chance in this country as everyone else, and I’m here to make sure that happens,” Mitchell said. “If I change three minds today, then I have done my job.” Justina Guyott, 57, of Rainier Beach, carried a red sign with the Malcom X quote, “You can’t have capitalism without racism.” Guyott said she came downtown to “put my white body on the line” by protesting. “My purpose is to raise awareness among other citizens that police killings are still happening and that the police are getting away with murder in our name,” she said. Recently hospitalized for hallucinations, he was spotted at a lumber yard and fired upon when officers mistook a cellphone in his hand for a weapon. “I wake up in the morning crying and I go to sleep crying, that’s how my life has changed,” Covarrubias said. “The killing has to stop. Once again the Black Lives Matters protesters decided to take out their anger on their fellow citizens who have no involvement in government or law enforcement, choosing the usual activity of “disrupting white spaces” because this isn’t a fight against the police: it’s a fight against the rest of society.

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