Anti-violence activists hold ‘die-in’ during Daley Center farmer’s market

Youths, activists from across South Side protest violence in Chicago: ‘This is not normal’

SHARE Anti-violence activists hold ‘die-in’ during Daley Center farmer’s market
Leniah Lacaze, 15, of Purpose Over Pain, holds a photo of 18-year-old Terrell Bosley as she joins dozens to protest gun violence in Chicago by staging a die-in Thursday afternoon in Daley Plaza. Bosley was shot to death on the Far South Side in 2006.

Leniah Lacaze, 15, of Purpose Over Pain, holds a photo of 18-year-old Terrell Bosley as she joins dozens to protest gun violence in Chicago by staging a die-in Thursday afternoon in Daley Plaza. Bosley was shot to death on the Far South Side in 2006.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Passers-by wandering through the weekly farmer’s market in Daley Plaza on Thursday were greeted by a strange tableau as they purchased their local produce and smoothies: dozens of teenagers and activists lying still on their backs on the granite to protest gun violence, as the sound of Mongolian throat-singing and the pungent scent of frying raclette hung in the air.

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Rev. Michael Pfleger, whose St. Sabina Catholic Church bused several dozen protestors to the scene, said he did not know that the downtown square hosts the market and cultural events — on this day, a Mongolian flag raising ceremony— most Thursdays in the summer. But the activist pastor told a reporter that causing a minor disruption for the pedestrians looking for lunch or organic cherries fit with the message of the “die-in” event.

“Gun violence in the city of Chicago is out of control, and that cannot become normal,” Pfleger said as busloads of teens from his parish began gathering in front of a portable speaker.

Rev. Michael Pfleger decries gun violence in Chicago during a news conference Thursday before joining dozens for a die-in in Daley Plaza in the Loop.

Rev. Michael Pfleger decries gun violence in Chicago during a news conference Thursday before joining dozens for a die-in in Daley Plaza in the Loop.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

In brief remarks, Pfleger called for a federal ban on assault rifles and contrasted the attention focused on the Highland Park shootings at last year’s Fourth of July parade to that centered on the dozens of mass shootings in Chicago each year.

“I want you to stop and think for just one moment that this is not normal,” a protestor said over a bullhorn as pedestrians walked through the plaza after “die-in” participants had taken their positions on the ground.

Tiffany Walker, an event producer who grew up in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood that is home to Pfleger’s congregation, just happened to be walking through the plaza when she was drawn to the shouting over the bullhorn.

Walker, sipping a green smoothie, said she had her doubts about how impactful the scene might have been for office workers looking for lunch but said that it would likely be moving for the many young participants who joined the protest.

“Looking around, some people are just walking by; some are observing,” she said. “But for these children, to see adults fight on their behalf, I think it shows them that people will defend them.”

Sheritta May, whose 28-year-old son Romaine May was fatally shot in Austin in May 2016, cries as she joins dozens to protest gun violence in Chicago by staging a die-in Thursday in Daley Plaza.

Sheritta May, whose 28-year-old son Romaine May was fatally shot in Austin in May 2016, cries as she joins dozens to protest gun violence in Chicago by staging a die-in Thursday in Daley Plaza.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Dozens join Rev. Michael Pfleger, of Saint Sabina Catholic Church, to protest gun violence in Chicago by staging a die-in Thursday in Daley Plaza in the Loop.

Dozens join Rev. Michael Pfleger, of Saint Sabina Catholic Church, to protest gun violence in Chicago by staging a die-in Thursday in Daley Plaza in the Loop.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

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