Thousands of protesters led by Father Michael Pfleger shut down the Dan Ryan Expressway on Saturday to demand "common sense gun laws, community resources, better schools, jobs and economic development."
They shut it down: pic.twitter.com/azp25HkTod— DIANE PATHIEU (@pathieuabc7) July 7, 2018
The protesters began pouring onto the freeway at approximately 10:20 a.m., carrying banners and shouting "Shut it down."
At about 11:30 a.m., protesters negotiated with authorities to shut down all northbound lanes for the protest march and began moving again. Earlier, Governor Bruce Rauner's office had earlier warned that anyone going across the barrier would be arrested, but no arrests have been reported. -ABC 7 Chicago
Illinois governor Bruce Rauner lashed out at the protest over Twitter - saying "This is unacceptable. We had clear parameters that allowed the protestors to be heard while respecting law and order. Instead, they chose instead to cause chaos," while admonishing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel.
This is unacceptable. We had clear parameters that allowed the protestors to be heard while respecting law and order. Instead, they chose instead to cause chaos.— Governor Rauner (@GovRauner) July 7, 2018
I’m disappointed in the Mayor. There was an agreement in place. I am calling on the Mayor to take swift and decisive action to put an end to this kind of chaos. I will work with him in good faith and urge him to do his job so that the people of Chicago feel safe.— Governor Rauner (@GovRauner) July 7, 2018
Emmanuel responded on Twitter, stating "It was a peaceful protest. Delete your account," echoing Hillary Clinton's (social media team's) attempt at a joke during the 2016 election.
It was a peaceful protest. Delete your account. https://t.co/QoKyIHmuQj— Mayor Rahm Emanuel (@ChicagosMayor) July 7, 2018
We would note that while the first item they're protesting is a constitutional right which would primarily affect law-abiding gun owners, problems with "community resources, better schools, jobs and economic development" can be traced directly back to Chicago's 84 years of Democratic leadership.
"The ones that won today are the people because the people are showing up. When they saw this many people out here, black and white and brown, young and old, saying we're tired of the damn violence in Chicago. We want the governor, the mayor, the elected officials and the community to all come together and say we want peace now," Pfleger said.
Of note, roughly 90% of gun violence in Chicago flows from gangs according to a Newsweek report from 2016, while a 2017 Chicago Tribune report notes that while the vast majority of gun owners say they legally obtained their guns, "The same is not true for criminals, however, most of whom obtain their guns illegally" - and thus would remain unaffected by "common sense gun laws."
Chicago’s modern history of gang violence, especially on its West and South sides, goes back to the 1960s. But over the past year, two things have accelerated the attacks, according to social workers and law enforcement authorities. Budget cuts reduced the number of anti-violence social workers who once cooled the simmering feuds, and a series of deadly police shootings and alleged misconduct by police have torpedoed the relationship between cops and residents. -Newsweek
So far this year, 224 people have been shot and killed in Chicago out of a total of 273 total homicides, or 82.5% acording to heyjackass.com. Of that, 79.1% of victims are black, while the race of the assailants are predominantly black or unknown. There have been 12 police involved shootings so far this year, with three killed - or around 1% of overall homicides in 2018.
Cook County Commissioner and Congressional candidate Chuy Garcia was one of the protesters.
"I think there is a clear message being sent across the country and that is that we live in a state of emergency in Chicago, that the deaths on a daily basis of young people in particular, is not acceptable, that there is a dire need to invest in the poorest communities in Chicago," Garcia said.
Parkland shooting survivors-turned overnight political pundits Emma González and David Hogg materialized to weigh in for that crucial teen demographic that will begin voting over the next few elections.
THE DAN RYAN IS CURRENTLY BEING SHUT DOWN IM SO PROUD 😭😭😭 https://t.co/AEcoySLXVH— Emma González (@Emma4Change) July 7, 2018
.@GovRauner should care about the guns coming in from other states considering most guns used in Chicago crimes are found to have been trafficked in.— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) July 7, 2018
Illinois is more strict on fireworks than guns and the youth are the ones paying for it. @GovRauner help save lives #DanRyan https://t.co/UCU9Mn61VE
Other protesters arrived from various parts of Chicago to board busses for the protest.
"Everybody is affected and it shouldn't be. That's why I am glad that we're all here, that we're all trying to make a difference and that's what matters. Hopefully the people in power listen to us so that everything can change and my nephews can grow up in a world that they don't have to worry about experiencing a pain that I did," said Katherine Pisabaj.
Perhaps protesting absentee fathers and gang culture might also be a worthwhile cause?