Friday evening, a rally for Donald Trump in Chicago was shut down by protestors. After a pattern of violence that was encouraged by Trump’s rhetoric, Chicago activists took direct action to keep this from happening in their city.
Earlier in the week, we all saw video of a Black protestor sucker punched. This organized response comes after so many well documented incidents of violence at Trump rallies that the mainstream media shrugged their shoulders at.
The protesters that participated in this action were a broad coalition of diverse people. It included some people from Black Lives Matter, students and professors from the University of Illinois Chicago, Moveon.org, as well as local Chicago activists. There was also a sizeable Latino contingent of demonstrators present.
Chicago activist Philister Sidugu describes the mood and purpose of last night’s protest. “The energy of the protest derived from a united Chicago. We were there to show that America stands for unity, and we refuse to stand by and accept any form of hate.”
The right wing media has amplified the toxic environment of Donald Trump rallies, and is now enraged that people have decided to not stand by and watch this go on. Last night, there were reports from some outlets saying that supporters of Bernie Sanders were there in numbers at the protest. This point doesn’t hold true according to activists on the ground.
When we have journalists getting choke slammed by security at Trump rallies, and young women being spat on and shoved by emboldened bigots, this action by the Chicago coalition of activists must be put in this context. The dangerous momentum posed by the Trump campaign will not be checked by either Democratic candidate. So, it has to come from the people on the ground who are most threatened by right wing populist talk, racism and xenophobia- and the actions of the people this rhetoric amps up. Thank you, Chicago.
P.S. thanks goes to Ad Faulkner for reporting and Philister Sidugu for the images.