From the Revolution Club Chicago

Standing Up to the System at the Vigil for Baby Dill

July 31, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Baby Dill memorial. Photo

July 11, 2015. 21-year-old Marvin Carr, who recorded under the name "Capo" on Chief Keef's record label, was shot and killed on the street in Chicago. Police profiling people in the neighborhood began chasing a car. The chase went for 3.5 miles and multiple police cars got involved. It ended when the car went out of control, hit a pole and struck the baby carriage Dillian Harris—13 months old—was riding in. Dillian died. The driver of the car was not charged in the shooting of Capo, but was charged with the murder of Dillian Harris.

Dillian Harris's family is outraged at the recklessness of the police which resulted in the death of baby Dill. They have brought suit against 20 unnamed officers who were involved in the chase, the police department and the city of Chicago.

On July 16, the Revolution Club was at a South Side El Train stop in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago, promoting a benefit for people facing felony charges from lasts fall's protests against police murder (2 are Rev Club members). We learned from an activist minister driving by that a vigil was planned for a Dillian Harris, affectionately known as baby Dill, a few blocks away.

As the Revolution Club, in uniform (Revolution—Nothing Less! shirts), came on the scene, a young woman asked, "Wow who are you all and what are you about?" When a member replied, "We are about the Emancipation of All Humanity", the young woman's eye lit up and she said. "I am down for that!" She wasn't ready to put on an RNL shirt on the spot because she was very dressed up. She told us how to stay in touch. It turned out she was part of Dillian's family. She took club members to meet Dillian's mother.

Many people came to the vigil alone and in groups. People struggled off public buses with bundles of blue and white balloons for Baby Dill. Four or more Black social clubs, in Black leather vests with their club names, rolled up on motorcycles. When asked if they were connected to the family, they said no, they just came to pay their respects. At its height there were over 100 people at the vigil.

Memorial for Baby Dill. Photo

The vigil began with a prayer which was followed by brief presentations from former gang members, some now probably in their 70's, including Gator Bradley who is widely known as a friend of Larry Hoover. (Hoover, the leader of the Gangster Disciples, has been locked down in a Super Max Federal Penitentiary since the 90's). All of the former gang members had essentially the same message. "It is time to 'stop beefing.' The women have carried the weight of all this violence for too long. The men need to step up and make this stop."

"Beef" is a common street term for an ongoing conflict among different sets of people—sometimes resulting in multiple people being killed on both sides of the "beef." We have been hearing the message to "the youth to stop beefing" from other OGs and this was also to be the message of a concert Chief Keef planned to raise funds for funeral costs for Dillian Harris's family and that of his friend Capo also.

When it was time to release the blue and white balloons, Dillian's grandmother and other family members who were just down the block had not arrived on the scene. An activist minister went down to check on them and running back to the vigil, he explained to several people, including Revolution Club members, that the cops had M16 assault rifles pointed at family member and were preventing the other relatives from leaving their porch and coming to the vigil.

A group, including the club, ran down the block to the scene. Unfortunately no one told anyone from large numbers of press people at the vigil what was happening and the press, along with most of the vigil participants, was clueless about what was happening just down the block and remained at the vigil site.

When the crowd arrived at the house, police, still pointing long guns at the women and children on the porch, backed off and left. Someone shouted out, "Go to the alley". Visible through a chain link fence was a huge police presence in the alley behind the house. A young Revolution Club member was agitating, "Get out your cell phones, let the press know what is going on here, come into the alley. This system is totally worthless! Look at what they do to us!" People poured into the alley through a hole in the chain link fence.

A Chicago policeman terrorizing mourners at a memorial for Baby Dill. Shirt says "Police Brutality 10 April 10". Photo

There were a mass of police in the alley. Youth told us that 2 cops who were dressed in green fatigues ride through the ally and harass them often and are part of the XRT (Special Response Team). There were uniformed police in and out of their vehicles. To top it off there was an officer brandishing an assault rifle wearing a purple t-shirt which said, "Police Brutality, 10 April 10". (See photo) Many people were out on their porches watching the scene from the several story apartment building on the other side of the alley. Family members and others were enraged at the police, yelling and screaming at them.

Revolution Club members were agitating and also passing out their flier "Stop Killing Each Other, Start Fighting the System" to people. A club member saw one youth starting to crumple up the flier and challenged them, making a point to distinguish what we were saying from the general "stop the violence movement." She talked about how the powers that be fear young Black people. How in the 60's the Panthers put revolution on the agenda and around the world the image of a young Black person was that of a revolutionary and how their system was shaken to its foundations but we weren't successful in making revolution. The rulers never want to see that happen again and have been working overtime to make sure of that by criminalizing Black youth. As she was speaking the youth began uncrumpling and reading the flier.

One member attempted to pass the flier to people watching from the building across the alley. The police blocking the gate tried to stop her but she would not leave. In defiance, a young man from the building came out of the gate and took a stack of fliers.

As the crowd got louder and louder, the scene got more intense. A large number of people, and especially young women, were expressing outrage at the police, screaming and yelling. Revolution Club members were agitating in the midst of all this, about the role of the police and need for people to get with the revolution. As it got more and more tense, the police began to slowly withdraw from the alley.

When all the police were gone, the crowd returned to the vigil and the balloons were released for Dillian. Many people got materials from the Revolution Club—papers, palm cards, our flier and one young woman got the RNL shirt. Everyone we met there is being invited to an open meeting of the Revolution Club Sunday.


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