Revolution #140, August 17, 2008

Chicago Bud Billiken Parade

“Get in the Streets to Stop Police Terror”

On August 9, a contingent marched against the recent murderous rampage by the Chicago police in this year’s Bud Billiken parade, the largest African American parade in the U.S. The response from the crowd was tremendous—fists in the air, cheers and people chanting along. Despite bouts of pouring rain, 15,000 Revolution newspaper broadsheets were gotten out with the headline “Chicago Cops Shoot 12, Kill 6 in 4 Weeks: Trigger Happy Police…and a Criminal System.” The back page tells the stories of 9 of the police shooting victims, including 17-year-old Jonathan Pinkerton, who had been planning on looking for college this summer but instead now lies paralyzed by a police bullet to the back.

At the start of the parade, the parade organizer along with the police attempted to silence this contingent by not allowing them to carry their banner which read “Get in the streets to stop police terror! Indict, convict, jail the killer cops!” A police sergeant said he didn’t want the signs against police shootings “to rile up the crowd.” The contingent did join the march and brought out signs that memorialized the victims of the criminal police shootings. They seemed to be the only contingent that had four police escorts the entire way.

This contingent at the Bud Billiken parade and the Revolution broadsheet were very important at a time when too few people are aware of the police shooting spree—and when there is an urgent need to set a different tone where the outrages and abuses by the police, especially in the oppressed communities, are not tolerated or accepted. Many people took stacks of the broadsheet to take back to their apartment buildings, churches, and workplaces to pass out to friends and family. One participant in the contingent said, “People were appreciative we were out there and now they have to take that righteous outrage we tapped into and spread it.”  

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