Thursday, almost a month after the march led by Fr. Michael Pfleger that shut down Dan Ryan Expressway, activists once again gathered to protest against violence plugging the city, now on the North Side.
The rally started at 4 pm, shutting down Lake Shore Drive in both directions between Fullerton and Belmont. The protesters then marched north on Belmont towards Clark Street and stopped for prayer right in front of Wrigley Field, just an hour before the Cubs game.
Among main issues raised at the protest were violence plugging the city, especially its South and West sides, as well as lack of medical and educational infrastructures in the underserved communities of Chicago.
According to Rev. Michael Hatch, one of the march’s organizers, this demonstration is “the beginning of the conversation.”
Out of 50 schools closed in 2013, five were closed in the community of Garfield Park that the pastor serves. Additionally to the largest mass public school closure in the U.S. modern history, among other issues pulsating in the crowd was a significant lack of health resources, including closing of half of the city’s mental health facilities, the majority of which were located on the South Side.
“West Garfield Park has the lowest life expectancy in the city, 69 years. People live in third-world conditions,” said Hatch in an interview. “We’re gonna fight for resources for these young people so they can have a right. Child’s life options should not be determined by which zip code they live in. That’s un-American. That’s ungodly, and we have to fight for an even playing field for all God’s children.”
March’s organizers believe that bringing the protest to the affluent neighborhoods of the North Side will draw attention of the public officials to resolve violence, corruption and the lack of economic development on the city’s South and West sides.
Covered by Vera Sauchanka / Photos by Jacob Brodsky