“Black Christmas” protests reveal U.S. racial fractures

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CHICAGO/WASHINGTON, — Nearly 100 people marched on Christmas Eve along a bustling shopping district in downtown Chicago in a protest dubbed “Black Christmas” against police shooting of a black teenager.

Holding banners “Stop Police Terror,” “Rahm must go,” “Dismantle systematic racism,” the protesters blocked the doors of several retailers in Magnificent Mile, shouting “16 shots and cover-up,” “no justice, no profit,” and preventing some last-minute shoppers from entering the stores. Several protesters lay down at an intersection, forcing the oncoming traffic to divert route.

Seventeen-year-old black teenager Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times to death by Chicago police in October 2014, but the video of his shooting was not released until November 2015. Protests have kept erupting since then.

A report released by the American Civil Liberties Union early this year showed that black Chicagoans, representing only 32 percent of the city’s total population, were subjected to 72 percent of all stops by police.

Robson, who was among the protesters blocking shoppers from entering H&M, told Xinhua that (Chicago) mayor Rahm Emanuel should receive the message that police murders should not be allowed.

It is common for the police to shoot people here in the U.S., especially African American men, said the protester.

In Minneapolis, Minnesota, activists for the U.S. African American civil rights movement — Black Lives Matter — on Wednesday held a protest at the Mall of America, and temporarily blocked traffic to a local airport.

The protest was aimed at demanding justice for Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old black man who was fatally shot by Minneapolis police on Nov. 15.

The protest at the mall, believed to be the nation’s biggest shopping mall, was attended by about 100 people Wednesday afternoon on one of the busiest shopping days ahead of Christmas holiday.

In the past few years, racial scars have not stopped bleeding as high-profile killings of blacks occurred frequently in the U.S. society, which fueled waves of protests and reignited heated national debate about racial inequities.

Last summer, unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was killed by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri, which sparked a nationwide protests and violence. Since then, the chant “no justice, no peace” has continued to ring out in protests across U.S. cities.

Early this year, the Justice Department released a scathing report of the Ferguson police force in the state of Missouri that pointed to widespread discrimination against the black communities among local law enforcement officials.

Apart from the excessive and unjustified use of force against black people and communities, Ferguson law enforcement officials systematically relied on unlawful and hefty fines on African-Americans to create revenue increases, the report revealed.

In April, 25-year-old black man Freddie Gray was arrested in Baltimore, Maryland, after police officers stopped him on the street and found a knife in his pocket. Later, Maryland state prosecutor said Gray’s arrest was “illegal” since the knife found in his pocket was not an illegal switchblade.

In July, 28-year-old black woman Sandra Bland was arrested in Waller County, Texas, during a traffic stop that originated from Bland’s failure to signal while changing the driving lane.

Both Gray and Bland passed away during police custody. Gray appeared to die of a spinal cord injury sustained during his riding in the police van, while Bland appeared to commit suicide in a Texas jail.

“We have a situation where many minority communities for so long have felt that law enforcement was coming in essentially to enforce laws against them, not to protect them,” said Loretta Lynch, the country’s first African-American female attorney general, in July.

Lynch was not the only one to speak out. In May, Vanita Gupta, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division chief, said that the “lack of trust in the police is real and it is profound.”

U.S. first African-American President Barack Obama has said minorities, especially the Blacks and Latinos, were discriminated against in the United States due to their race.

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