Holiday shoppers, tourists and Chicago residents didn’t get the most festive and enjoyable shopping experience this season; a time usually chock full of cheer, celebration and love, but instead was greeted by angry protesters.
“No one in or out!” demanded the group, as the Black Lives Matter protesters linked arms in front of the Water Tower, a 8-story shopping mall, Apple, and TopShop, amoungst others retail outlets last week.
Occasionally, confrontations escalated, turning into shoving matches and verbal warfare as disgruntled, and innocent families who simply wanted to buy a sweater for grandma were being held hostage, met with fury and outrage, for an injustice they didn’t commit. Thanks to swift social media hashtags and tweets galore, hundreds of protesters dominated the sidewalks and the lanes of Michigan Avenue to express their concerns of police brutality and injurious injustice.
While said demonstrators screamed, “16 shots,” a chant in remembrance of Laquan McDonald, a 16-year-old who was shot and killed by police officer James Van Dyke with 16 shots last October, across Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. A strip of luxury shopping, gang violence remained prevelant in Englewood, a south side neighborhood known for it’s blood splatter and gang violence, also home to Spike Lee‘s controversial film, Chi-Raq.
While protesters blocked Apple customers from browsing, African American teens were having target practice with enemies nine miles south in Englewood, a neighborhood only 3 square miles long who reported six homicides in only a month’s period, according to the Chicago Tribune. But why not exude that same quality energy on the corner of 63rd and King Drive, a block notorious for drugs and gun violence? Where was the Black Lives Matter protests on the Englewood block where model Kaylyn Pryor was slain in cold blood November 2, 2015 while waiting at a bus stop after visiting her grandmother? Do we only “Say Her Name” when a cop pulls the trigger, or nah?
Why don’t protesters ban together against shooters who’s skin color matches theirs? What about those who’s badge of honor is based on how many bodies they drop? How come protesters aren’t standing on their block, outside their buildings chanting the amount of bullets they spew on a weekly basis, killing innocent bystanders? Instead, protesters chose the neighborhood with the LEAST amount of shootings and murders to express their rage by bullying families on the downtown streets of Chicago flooded with Christmas lights and street performers, when gun violence occurs nearly everyday on their own neighborhood sidewalks. It’s not the why, but the where.
Let’s be crystal clear. The argument of justice and responsibility is not the cause of a sharp side eye, as BLM arguments are supremely valid with critical questions that need answers, accountability served cold, and unexplained injustice meeting redemption. The argument is whether the weapon of standing affront an American Girl doll shop is the appropriate answer.
Photo credit: DNA Info, Getty Images