Cardinal Blase Cupich released a statement late Friday signaling his support of the Rev. Michael Pfleger’s planned Dan Ryan shutdown on Saturday to protest city gun violence.
The Chicago Archdiocese had not weighed in on the controversial expressway demonstration until Cupich wrote that he encouraged young protesters “to be bold and undaunted.”
“History has proven many times that non-violent action and peaceful protest have the power to create change. The change we need in this moment is to end a culture of violence and indifference. This is a priority we must all embrace and for which we must all work,” wrote Cupich, who had been out of town visiting family during the week leading up to the protest, the Chicago Sun-Times previously reported.
“I applaud the courage shown by young people in our city and across the country demanding their right to life and human dignity, given by God and guaranteed by our nation’s founders. They make us proud. They give us hope. I encourage them to be bold and undaunted in pressing their case and securing real change to have the peace and security they have every right to expect.
“Let us all join together as Illinois citizens to pray for the success of their cause and for the safety of all on Saturday, the marchers, the motorists and those sworn to protect them,” the cardinal wrote.
Earlier Friday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he supported allowing protesters onto the Dan Ryan, after Illinois State Police and Chicago police officials urged Pfleger to abandon the protest.
Activists led by Pfleger are expected to make their way onto the expressway at 79th Street about 10 a.m. Saturday, then march north on the highway before exiting at 67th Street.