On Black Friday, black folks were on the case.
The pastors, politicians and rabble rousers corralled the microphones.
Hundreds marching down the Magnificent Mile, turning back traffic, barring the glittering doors of commerce, in the name of two black boys.
Laquan McDonald, 17, allegedly executed by a Chicago police officer.
Tyshawn Lee, 9, allegedly executed by Chicago gang bangers.
Last week the Chicago City Council’s Black Caucus stood on the 2nd floor of City Hall, angrily demanding accountability from “The Man” upstairs.
Hundreds of black folks marching, holding press conferences, issuing statements, angrily demanding reform.
They want heads. Police Supt. Garry McCarthy must resign, they exort. Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez must go. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, begone.
The murderers of Laquan and Tyshawn have stood in the well of justice. They will be prosecuted.
Yet, since at least the 1950s, blacks in Chicago have suffered and tolerated corruption, torture, brutality, denigration and discrimination from the police. Yet, for decades, black Chicago has been the victim of homegrown violence.
A few rolling heads won’t stop that show. A federal investigation won’t stop that show.
While the hundreds marched, hundreds of thousands of other black folks cowered in neighborhoods where guns and gangs reign supreme. They watch in resigned, bleary-eyed fear as their communities disintegrate.
If only the voices cried as loudly for them.
If only they could muster enough outrage to look in the mirror.
If only we would cry for the hundreds of Laquans and Tyshawns being murdered by their own.
As he announced the arrest of the thugs who allegedly executed Tyshawn Lee, McCarthy vowed the city’s murderous gangs “are going to be obliterated.” If only we would vow to work to end to the gang control of our own neighborhoods.
If only we would resolve to take back our streets and children from the home-grown gangs that terrorize old and young.
Black folks blocked the golden doors on the Magnificent Mile on Black Friday. Every other day we are down there, passing our precious bucks to the corporate retail behemoths.
If only we would “buy black,” and patronize more African-American merchants, artisans, lawyers, doctors and entrepreneurs. If only we would shop in the retail strips of Chatham, Bronzeville and Lawndale, bringing our millions in buying power back home.
If only our fathers would take their young sons on their knee, and model of how to be a man. Pull your pants up, respect yourselves, eschew the street.
If only we would teach our little girls to reject a culture where the “b word” is a byword. Plan a family with a worthy and “present” partner.
If only we would register and vote in our formidable numbers.
If only we would deploy our blood-earned vote to fire elected officials who kowtow to political bosses.
If only we all — black, white, Latino and all — would count the $500 million Chicago taxpayers have shilled out in lawsuits and settlements in the last decade.
This is not a black problem. If only we would all take responsibility for it.