Hundreds gathered in Logan Square Park on Thursday evening to rail against Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s litany of perceived failures as she marked the halfway point of her first term in office.
The protest, led by the members of the Chicago Teachers Union and local activist groups, served as an outlet for some of Lightfoot’s fiercest critics to voice their unadulterated opinions. Many criticized the mayor’s handling of the botched raid of Anjanette Young and the fatal police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, while others called her to task for failing to make good on certain campaign promises.
“She has failed us miserably,” Miracle Boyd, a member of the activist group GoodKids MadCity, said of Lightfoot’s first two years in office.
The group eventually marched from Logan Square Park toward Lightfoot’s nearby home, with some hoisting mock report cards filled with failing grades. As with past protests near Lightfoot’s doorstep, the demonstrators were stopped by a Chicago police blockade at Wrightwood and Kimball avenues.
But that didn’t stop them from sending a message.
“It’s not a celebration,” Jazmine Salas, co-chair of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Oppression, said of the mayor’s anniversary. “Chicagoans are living in a nightmare with Lori Lightfoot as our mayor. She ran for office as a reformer — what a joke.”
After endorsing a civilian police oversight ordinance that’s been backed by the City Council’s Black, Latino and progressive caucuses, Salas slammed Lightfoot’s plan to introduce a counter-proposal.
The demonstration alternated from similar speeches highlighting other pressing issues and impromptu dance sessions accentuated by some of the chants that became rallying cries during last summer’s protests. The spirit of the uprising was felt throughout.
During a July protest in Grant Park, Boyd allegedly had a tooth knocked out by a police officer. On Thursday, she repeatedly took aim at the cops and endorsed a plan to use police funding to finance a directory identifying services and job opportunities in an effort to reduce youth incarceration.
“Lori Lightfoot has been lying to us and keeps investing our money in CPD. … The police do not keep us safe,” Boyd said.
And while the speakers didn’t pull any punches identifying the city’s woes, the mood remained hopeful.
“I believe that we will win!” demonstrators shouted in unison as the night wore on, their cheers syncopated with the tapping of drummers in the crowd.