Chicago Rally on 50th Anniversary of King’s Death: The Struggle Grows

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“We say ‘No More’” was the theme of a rally on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that was held in downtown Chicago. A series of speakers reminded the crowd that the aims of the movement for Black liberation remain unfulfilled.

Police domination in Chicago headed the list. The $95 million “cop academy” proposed for the underdeveloped West Side is particularly galling. Real needs — for community schools and health maintenance — go unmet, replaced by a police force viewed as occupiers and a plan to gentrify the area.

Kofi Ademola of Black Lives Matter reported that just the previous day, a young Black man, Charles Thomas, was shot by University of Chicago police. When police show up rather than mental health professionals — Thomas needed help — violence is the prescription.

Kelly Hayes from LIfted Voices condemned Trump’s deployment of U.S. troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, on this very day. Their purpose is to intimidate and violently encounter brown migrant workers. The military has been deployed in our country, she declared, which is fascism.

Some speakers pointed to the murder of unarmed Stephon Clark at the hands of Sacramento, Cal. police a few days earlier — and the wave of protests interrupting commerce and entertainment in the state’s capitol.

None there were fooled by hagiographies for King by elected politicians and the media, not when police murders of Black men and women continue. Still, the work and thought of Dr. King was only lightly invoked.

It was Dr. King who said in 1967: “We believe, we hope, we pray that something new might emerge in the political life of this nation which will produce a new man, new structures and new institutions and a new life for mankind. I am convinced that this new life will not emerge until our nation undergoes a radical revolution of values. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people the giant triplets of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” LINK

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