In response to the tragedy that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Friday and Saturday, organizers in the Chicagoland area came together to unite against the bigotry displayed by white supremacists and neo-nazis. The rally of an estimated 800 people was held in a partnership between Resist Fascism Chicago, the Women’s March, Black Lives Matter, and several other organizations.
The rally, which occurred in Millennium Park on the corner of Randolph and Michigan, featured an open mic where anyone could say their thoughts on what had occurred. One anonymous woman loudly proclaimed: “I am a white woman who came out here to say that black lives matter.”
Following an hour of speeches, the group took to the streets, first marching south along Michigan avenue, then crossing the street and heading for Trump Tower, where more speeches were given. Chants of “Black Lives Matter,” “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA,” “No hate, no fear, everyone is welcome here,” and many others echoed through the streets of the city. A vigil was held later that evening at Federal Plaza in memoriam to the lives lost in Charlottesville.
The response from passerby seemed either nonexistent or supportive. While most people carried on with whatever they were doing, a few people joined in with the chants, with some even joining the procession as it made it’s way through the city.
The police presence in Chicago for the rally was peaceful; they were there to protect the protestors, and to insure that no one was harmed by motor vehicles. The same can not be said for other cities across the United States. In Seattle, for instance, protestors were met with militarized police yielding riot gear.
Throughout the suburbs, similar rallies popped up. Organizers gathered in Aurora, Geneva, Naperville, and other communities to show their support for the cause. Rallies, vigils, and protests continued to pop up on social media throughout the week, with the latest being the “Rally Against Racism & Antisemitism,” which is to be held in Elgin, Illinois, on Friday.
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