‘It is our duty to fight for our freedom’: Protesters link arms, stop traffic against police shootings


G-Jun Yam

Protesters block traffic on the Dan Ryan Expressway on the city’s South Side during evening rush hour in protest of the fatal shootings of two black men by police in Minnesota and Louisiana.

By Editor-in-Chief Photo Editor

As clouds and pouring rain personified the gray and tense moments of the past week, protesters gathered on Chicago’s South Side and into oncoming traffic to peacefully protest and become voices of the Black Lives Matter movement following two heavily publicized police shootings.

 Locals stood in solidarity with 37-year-old Alton Sterling of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and 32-year-old Philando Castile of outside St. Paul, Minnesota, two black men who were fatally shot by police. Uproars were heard nationwide due to pieces of both incidents being videotaped and posted on social media and given to various news outlets.

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom,” chanted Kristen, a college student and one of the protest’s organizers who declined to disclose her last name. “It is our duty to live. We must love and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our shame.”

The protesters, who linked arms in order to stand together and not be “dispersed,” were briefed on protocols to follow in case police intervened, including safety words and pointing out lawyers who were walking alongside.

With hundreds gathering, the march began and ended at the intersection of 51st and Wentworth streets and took a detour as protesters moved onto the Dan Ryan expressway where they stopped traffic for several minutes.

 With no Chicago Police Department officers on the highway with the marchers, traffic patrollers stood present but eventually dispersed. Drivers passing by either honked or left their vehicles to take photos of the protestors.

The Chicago Police Department’s Homicide Division location that was circled by the march, 5101 S. Wentworth Ave., is the first of many local law enforcement locations they will be asking to support the movement, according to Kristen.

“We are here to get a statement of solidarity with us, so other police departments know their colleague’s actions aren’t appropriate and won’t be accepted or tolerated,” she said. “We are here to [support] each other—to love and express our anger and frustration with this system.”


See The Chronicle’s entire photo essay by Photo Editors G-Jun Yam and Maria Cardona here