It was never just about George Floyd
Chicago was on the national radar this weekend for massive Downtown protests. The first night of protests ended with over one thousand arrests, according to the Chicago Community Bond Fund. This is violent and genocidal, considering that Cook County jail was previously labelled a hotbed for the virus. Yet, the high arrest rate was only a portion of the city’s punitive response to protesters.
At approximately 8:40 PM, a citywide Amber Alert was sent out informing city residents that a curfew would be instituted from 9 PM to 6 AM. For protesters who were still on the streets, this meant they had twenty minutes to find refuge if they were to avoid being trapped Downtown.
This strange alert came after the city began putting up its bridges, impeding people’s ability to cross. These measures were a form of entrapment and intimidation against the protesters. They were also an example of the failures of Black leadership during times of crisis.
Think about it. We are in a city founded by a Black man, ran by a Black woman in the LGBTQIA+ community with a thirty percent Black population. Alas, this is the same city that:
profits from killing its Black population;
inadequately protects its Black essential workers during a pandemic;
continues to strip housing from its Black lower income residents.
This anti-Blackness was only amplified during protests. By cutting off transporation and stopping food programs that were feeding thousands of children, the city of Chicago is once again harming its most vulnerable residents. Moreover, it is creating an anti-protest narrative.
The city's punitive response to protesters reminds us of one thing: riots and protests are a signal of social change.
This is because our governing doctrines were contrived by people who had no interest in the liberation of people they viewed, and kept, as slaves. Therefore, when we challenge conditions that mimic aspects of slavery, it will always be seen as wrong in their eyes.
So, really, these riots are not about doing the *right* thing. They are an attempt at leveling the playing field in a country that has never done the right thing,
What's happening now may serve as a shock to some, but there were many hinting factors to these riots. First, it was the virus. We were stuck in the house with no jobs or little protection for those who still had jobs; no stimulus checks or just one measly $1200 (that was taxed!). This gave a baseline for the public dissent. The catalyst for the action was George Floyd’s murder.
To kill someone so brutally when we are already grieving is to spit in the face of Black America once more – to tell us that our lives, our bodies, they do not matter. Not George Floyd’s. Not Breonna Taylor’s. Not Ahmaud Arbery’s. Not anyone who has been a victim to America’s genocide of its Black citizens. So what did we do? We rode for everyone whose life was taken too soon.
In Minnesota. In L.A. In Atlanta. In Louisville. In Chicago.
And we will not stop riding until there is adequate, sustainable change. ~ℝ
javanna plummer, rwebel in chief
Javanna is the editor of "Rwebel Magazine," the architect behind "Rwebel Radio," and the pioneering force of "Xscape." Through her words, Javanna hopes to inspire creativity, passion and forward-thinking
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photos of protest aftermath
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