clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Catching a mid-day flight at O’Hare on Labor Day? Take the Blue Line

Protesters plan to gather at the Cumberland Avenue entrance ramp to the Kennedy Expressway at 11:30 a.m. on Labor Day, then march down the expressway toward O'Hare International Airport. | Google Streetview

If you’ve got a late morning or early afternoon flight to catch at O’Hare on Labor Day, it might be best to take the CTA’s Blue Line.

The leader of a small group of protesters that shut down rush-hour traffic on Lake Shore Drive Aug. 2 announced on Wednesday he has firmed up the time and route of his protest intended to paralyze Labor Day traffic on the Kennedy Expressway and I-190 at O’Hare International Airport.

Rev. Gregory Livingston and as many protesters as he can convince to join him plan to gather at 11:30 a.m. at the Cumberland Avenue entrance ramp.

At noon, they will march down the ramp and head east on the expressway to River Road, where they will cross the median and, they hope, block both sides of the roadway into and out of O’Hare International Airport.

Livingston believes he can accomplish that goal with only 100 people.

After heading down the Kennedy to River Road, the Labor Day protesters plan to cross the median and block both eastbound and westbound lanes of the expressway near O’Hare International Airport. | Google Streetview
After heading down the Kennedy to River Road, the Labor Day protesters plan to cross the median and block both eastbound and westbound lanes of the expressway near O’Hare International Airport. | Google Streetview

Standing outside the mayor’s office with only former city employee-turned-activist Frank Coconate at his side, Livingston added to the demands he made before the earlier march to Wrigley Field that saw a small group of protesters dwarfed by Chicago police officers and members of the news media.

Those demands still include: the resignations of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Supt. Eddie Johnson; resources for “black-led anti-violence initiatives” and the “re-opening and re-purposing” of all of the record 50 Chicago Public Schools closed by Emanuel.

But they also include: legislation that “requires 20 percent of the workforce to be African-American; economic investment on the South and West Sides “commensurate” with the dollars devoted to “planning, funding and partnerships downtown and on the North Side and “community-led re-negotiation” of a Fraternal Order of Police contract that, Livingston claims, “protects police officers.”

Video by Fran Spielman | Rev. Gregory Livingston on his plans for a Labor Day protest.

Livingston said he is determined to inconvenience Labor Day travelers because Emanuel’s plan to flood the streets of the city’s five most violent police districts with up to 600 additional weekend officers has not stopped the bloodbath.

“Their approach is the equivalent of treating cancer with a flu shot. And, just like a misdiagnosed patient, the quality of Chicago’s violence continue to get worse instead of better,” Livingston said.

“Chicago’s disease is racial segregation. The treatment is to rebuild those areas of the city — black Chicago and others — that have been generationally ravaged by systemic racism.”

Protesters write in sidewalk chalk in the southbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive near Belmont on Aug. 2, before heading to Wrigley Field. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times
Protesters write in sidewalk chalk in the southbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive near Belmont on Aug. 2, before heading to Wrigley Field. Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Unlike Lake Shore Drive, which is patrolled by the Chicago Police Department, the Kennedy is patrolled by the State Police, who could not be reached for comment on whether they intend to block or arrest protesters who attempt to march onto the highway.

Livingston said it doesn’t matter to him. In fact, he would welcome arrests.

“I like sleeping in my own bed. But if I have to spend some time somewhere else to make a point to help save some lives, I don’t mind doing that,” he said.

His advice to Labor Day travelers?

“We’re not gonna step on the tracks to stop the Blue Line,” he said.

So, he’s advising travelers to take the Blue Line?

“Well, I don’t want to say it like that,” he said. “But it’s an option.”

Rev. Gregory Livingston said his protest will focus on shutting down traffic on the Kennedy Expressway, not the CTA’s Blue Line. | Colin Boyle/Sun-Times
Rev. Gregory Livingston said his protest will focus on shutting down traffic on the Kennedy Expressway, not the CTA’s Blue Line. | Colin Boyle/Sun-Times