Fighting for Ferguson


Lou Foglia

Demonstrators head north on Lake Shore Drive shouting “we shut sh– down” as they march unified in disapproval of the decision to not indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

By Assistant Campus Editor

Chants and shouting echoed through the streets of Chicago Nov. 24 after the grand jury findings in the Michael Brown case were read in Ferguson, Missouri. The failure to indict led to protesters marching through the city yelling, “They let us down, we shut s–t down.”

The protest of nearly 700 people gathered at the Chicago Police Headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan Ave., and headed north on King Drive until the crowd reached Lake Shore Drive and shut the entire road down. Police flanked the march of protesters as they made their way into the streets of downtown Chicago, specifically the bridge across Michigan Avenue and Balbo Street.

Police in riot helmets looked on as protesters chanted, “No justice, no peace. No more racist a– police.”

Many students attended the protest, hearing news of the event through emails from professors, texts from friends or Facebook events sent weeks in advance.

Simone Gillon, junior cultural studies major at Columbia, said this is the third protest she has taken part in, but this particular case means a lot to her.

“It doesn’t matter if [Michael Brown] was black, white or yellow,” Gillon said. “It’s the fact that police are criminalizing people, and it needs to be stopped.”

Kristin Brown, a Ferguson native and another protester who carried a sign stating ‘Justice for Mike Brown’ alongside Gillon, agreed that racism in the police force is the biggest issue when it comes to the Michael Brown case and others like it.

“Chicago police kill a civilian every nine days,” Brown said. “You know how many people that is per year? [The Chicago police] are just as much a part of the problem too.”

The crowd quickly gained more followers, making its way through a shut-down and vacant Lake Shore Drive. Protesters’ anger grew more apparent at police as they blocked off certain streets, bridges  and buildings.

Gregory Koger, a political activist, used a megaphone to deliver an anti-police speech to the growing crowd.

“Why are police killing our youth like this?” Koger said. “[It’s because] the police’s role is to suppress people. It is to stop any resistance and challenge to what this system does time and time again. They value property more than they value human lives, and that is foundational to the capitalist system.”

His statements got more aggressive as the protest continued by saying things like, “Either you’re with the people and with liberation or you’re a pig and you’re with the system,” and “These f–kers in uniforms with guns and badges [are] backing people up and shooting people down. They know what’s happening.”

Koger’s comments were met with considerable support.

“[The police] need to get the f–k out of the way,” Koger said. “We’re going to make them get the f–k out of the way because the time is up for this system. Ferguson has woken up this sleeping giant.”