In light of the murder of Laquan McDonald at the hands of unjust Chicago Police officers, various community and religious leaders responded through marches and protests across the city of Chicago.
The first major march, protest and demonstration happened on Black Friday on the Magnificent Mile. Our goal was to shut down the financial flow of the Magnificent Mile not by blocking stores or physically stopping shoppers from shopping, but rather through our presence raising the conscience level of shoppers thus mentally causing them to avoid shopping on the Magnificent Mile.
On the outside the march on the Magnificent Mile was a huge success, on the inside it wasn't. The march on the Magnificent Mile had too many egos and intergenerational struggles for the limelight as many fought to be interviewed by various news stations for their own personal fame. Also there were many marching among us who were only there to cause chaos and confusion.
After the march on the Magnificent Mile there have been other marches, protests and demonstrations attempting to chase the "high" of the Black Friday Magnificent Mile demonstration.
Yes, we must continue to march, protest and demonstrate for those killed unjustly by crooked cops, but we must also deal with black on black violence as well. We must address poverty in black communities from an inside out approach.
To continue too march and protest until Mayor Rahm Emanuel resigns is not only stupid but also wrongheaded. To say Emanuel is responsible for the corruption of rogue cops would be like saying black parents should be held legally responsible for when their children shoot at gang bangers but miss and kill innocent people!
A lot of the protesters are being fueled by various groups and organizations that supported Chuy Garcia for Mayor of Chicago. Thus, there's a personal hatred and agenda to remove Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The Mayoral Recall is the brain-child of Chuy Garcia supporters to weaken Rahm at a time when Chicago is in a state of moral confusion.
I've meet with various black community and religious leaders and sadly to say outside of marching and protesting they don't have an agenda for the African American community. We can't allow marching and protesting to be our only card! Nor can we continue arbitrary demonstrations that block main streets used by Chicago Fire Department, Police and Ambulance in cases of emergencies.
The marching and protesting should continue but should be more organized in a way that doesn't hurt our fellow citizens. We must also be willing to sit down with the current Mayor of Chicago and submit our PLANS and AGENDAS for our communities and constituents. If we do not have a plan or agenda for our communities then our marching and protesting is in vain and will lead to the same path.
We must be honest with ourselves, as a community we failed Laquan McDonald and other young black men like him way before their murder by Chicago police or gang bangers! Look at the black community in Chicago, we have BLACK Alderman, St. Representatives, State Senators, Cook County Commissioners, community and religious leaders yet our communities are blighted. Whose fault is that?!
As black folks we can't allow emotions to override logic. We can't allow action to override strategy. We need emotion and logic, we need action and strategy.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel in his December 9, 2015 speech before City Council and indeed the nation, asked for community leaders and religious leaders to help him make Chicago better. Are you in? I am!
No, I don't agree with everything Mayor Rahm Emanuel has done thus far, but as a Community Leader I'm willing to work with his administration during these troublesome times. The reality remains, as of right now he's the Mayor. Folks don't have to like him, but at least respect the office.
My constituents need jobs and resources! I'm willing to work with anyone to make that happen. As long as Rahm Emanuel is Mayor of Chicago we should work with him to better our communities until his time expires.
Let's go from marching to movement, from rhetoric to results, from protests to programs! The Mayor has taken responsibility for things that happened under his watch. As Community Leaders, let us also take responsibility for things going on in our own communities.
Jim Allen, President of
Vineyard Chicago and
Washtenaw Park Advisory Council