MAY DAY WILL LOOK A BIT DIFFERENT IN CHICAGO THIS YEAR AS NEW COALITION, Resist. Reimagine. Rebuild. (R3) TAKES TO THE STREETS
Chicago is still a segregated but a new generation of activists are building unity across community lines, inspired by the election of Donald Trump, the persistent budget crisis in Illinois, the continued lack of police accountability, and the crisis of public education in Chicago, disproportionately impacting Black and Latinx youth.
Over 30 grassroots and labor organizations began meeting in November, 2016 on the south side of Chicago initially to vent frustration and then to map a response to the presidential election and ongoing problems faced by Chicago’s poor, Black and Brown and immigrant communities. Groups range from Black Youth Project 100, which has led massive street demonstrations against police violence, to Chicago Fight for 15, a campaign to get a living wage for fast food workers, to Organized Communities Against Deportations, which has been advocating for expanded sanctuary for Black and Brown communities. The Chicago Teacher’s Union, SEIU-Health, Black Lives Matter-Chicago, Arab American Action Network, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Desi Youth Rising, Inner-City Muslim Action Network, Pride Action Tank and others are involved.
The group’s most recently held a citywide teach-in which drew 600 people on April 4. On Monday, May 1, in honor of May Day, the R3 Coalition will rally outside the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center, Ogden and Roosevelt at 11:00 a.m. to protest the criminalization of young people of color, before marching to Union Park to join the Citywide May Day rally there. Organizers will be available for press interviews at 10:30 a.m. at the rally site. Speakers will include Karen Lewis of CTU and Charlene Carruthers, National Director of byp100.
Black, Latinx, Arab and Asian activists have been in the lead of this coalition and asserting their voices in the city’s political landscape with a greater degree of unity than we have seen in decades.
The R3 coalition is a part of the larger Beyond the Moment Coalition: www.beyondthemoment.org, a multi-racial, multi-issue project of the Movement for Black Lives, which includes fifty organizations and actions in dozens of cities on May Day.
Adom Getachew or Damon Williams