Chicago: Still cold but some signs of spring on Blow the Whistle Day

March 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

The cold weather is keeping people indoors too long into March! But what happened in one community on the south side of Chicago is a sign of the times. This is a park where the Revolution Club in Chicago has done work before. Earlier in the week the revolutionaries got out whistles and a little flyer—on one side it explained about blowing the whistle on police brutality and April 14—Shut It Down. On the other side is a call for all different street organizations (sets, gangs), Latino and Black, to put their guns down for A14. A young man who hangs in the park and is now running with the Revolution Club went back the day before Blow the Whistle Day and reported that the stickers were up and people were wearing their whistles still.

On Blow the Whistle Day, there were not many people out in the park. So they decided to do the skit—one person donned an ugly pig mask and grabbed a young Black female member of the Revolution Club. Others started blowing the whistle. Now here is the COOL part. People came out and stopped their cars and got out. Some of these people did NOT know there was a skit being acted out—they heard the whistles and came out AND they were blowing their whistles. Exactly what they need to do when a PIG messes with someone.

In this neighborhood people say, "I get it. We should organize ourselves to do this. We are calling the community on the police." An 11-year-old reported she blew the whistle on the police and the police threatened her and took her whistle. (The Revolution Club is going to ask First Defense—a legal organization that goes to the jail whenever it is called for anyone arrested for any reason—to put up a billboard near this park, something they do as part of their project. This way everyone will know who to call if the police mess with them for blowing the whistle.)

There was a group of women from Indiana who gave their contact information and filmed the skit.

Driving around later in the day in a decorated van, the Revolution Club spotted a basketball court full of Black and Latino kids, which is unusual given the segregation in Chicago. The game stopped as everyone listened to two young members from the Revolution Club. The crowd put on the whistles. The youth were taking pictures of the decorated van and were really interested in what this was all about. The van drove off to the sound of whistles.

Another really good suggestion from a Revolution Club member: always have clipboards to sign people up. We need them to do this better but also he stressed that even HAVING A VISIBLE CLIPBOARD tells people that we are there to "sign people up"—we are serious.

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