By Final Call News
Chicago is on fire with a level of awareness, outrage and activism not seen since the heady days when the late Mayor Harold Washington was trying to reform a system and government rife with racism, patronage and corruption.
An uprising led by young people who have been in the streets protesting for over a year and a reporter’s battle for videotape of the police shooting of Laquan McDonald unleashed a torrent of activism as the horrific video showed a teenager shot down in the street by Officer Jason Van Dyke, who has been charged with murder. It has resulted in the firing of Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, pressure on State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to resign and calls for the ouster of powerful mayor Rahm Emmanuel.
Release of the video resulted in the Black Friday shutdown of the city’s Magnificent Mile shopping district by protestors and continued demonstrations downtown, at the mayor’s office, police headquarters and the state’s attorney’s office.
Now the federal government has announced it will review use of force by the police department and major newspapers have called for the resignation of Mayor Emmanuel.
The state’s attorney is running for re-election and major political supporters have already abandoned her.
A once invincible and arrogant mayor is seeking to save his political life with resignations, firings, creation of a new police review panel and an apparent willingness to dump anyone who might be a liability. The mayor is accused of engaging in a cover-up in the death of Laquan McDonald, 17, shot 16 times in a video that city and law enforcement officials refused to release for over a year.
The cover-up in the McDonald death began the day the teenager was shot, observed the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan in a passionate address Nov. 29 at the Nation of Islam’s flagship Mosque Maryam. Why did it take 13 months for the video to be released? He asked. Did the mayor keep the video of the fatal shooting by Off. Van Dyke quiet because he was running for re-election and could the mayor have won if the heinous video had been released? The Minister continued. The youth was shot to death in October 2014 and the mayor faced a run-off in April 2015.
State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, who charged Off. Van Dyke with murder, has a role to play in explaining her actions, Min. Farrakhan said. “How long did it take you, Ms. Alvarez, to investigate something that was so egregious? You saw the picture and then they rushed to settle” with the family, said Min. Farrakhan.
“Hiding the truth is a dangerous thing– and then mixing up truth with falsehood. Somebody represented this reprehensible murder. … There are so many liars, liars and conspirators involved in this. … Now the mayor got his Negroes, some of you are just like Lazarus, you don’t want a loaf of bread. You don’t even want a wheat field so you can make your own bread. But you are looking for the crumbs that fall from your slave master’s table and a little crumb is good for some of our preachers. A little crumb is good for some of our politicians.
“But if you don’t come down right on this issue, I think we ought to expose you so that there is no hiding place for you anywhere in the Black community, where you take up residence.”
Chicago’s leaders and residents need to seize this opportunity and reject those who wish to personally manipulate anger and pain to benefit themselves, to protect the mayor, to cover their own failures or to attempt to put people back to sleep.
This is not a time for opportunism, it’s a time for true leadership. Everyone who is concerned about the state of the Black community should see it is time to build unity with Latinos so that Blacks and Browns can stop practicing minority-crumbs-from-the-table politics that keeps them fighting one another and leaves a White mayor as overseer in a majority Black and Brown city.
The mayor is the weakest he has ever been, the state’s attorney’s office is vowing to be independent and the police force is under the glaring light of national and international public scrutiny. Xmas season shopping is suffering and tourism could take the next hit. When the dollars don’t flow, worries rise among those who truly control the city.
Black Chicago has never recovered from the death of Mayor Washington in 1987 with political fractures opening the door to control of the city council by Mayor Richard M. Daley and his successor “King Rahm.”
But the city suffers from budget problems, rouge cops, unemployment, violence, underdeveloped Black and Brown neighborhoods and a failing school system. Committed leaders need to step forward and carve out a strategy and a way forward to remove the mayor and revitalize a suffering city. People are ready to be engaged and are ready to act, but there must be an independent vision for the city that rejects the stale politics of yesterday, rejects fear of independent thinking, fear of independent action and fear of bold, young people fed-up with the lies and machinations of slave-minded elders.
If leaders fail to embrace this opportunity, things will get worse, not better in Chicago. And failed leadership will be to blame.