(HIDE YOUR TIDE PODS, THEY ARE OUT ON THE STREETS TODAY) – ‘Enough is enough’: Thousands of Chicago-area students demanding gun reform walk out of schools



Approximately 1,000 students at Lakeview High School on Chicago’s north side walked out of school on March 14, 2018, as part of the #ENOUGH National School Walkout in response to gun violence.

By Vikki Ortiz HealyContact ReporterChicago Tribune

Thousands of students across the Chicago area walked out of schools Wednesday wearing orange, carrying signs and chanting “Enough!” — adding their voices to a chorus of young people across the country demanding gun reform.

Through walkouts they’ve been planning for weeks as part of a nationwide movement, students in the city and suburbs honored the 17 killed one month ago in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and called attention to gun violence in Chicago and elsewhere that has devastated their schools and communities. Some students carried signs with the names of the Parkland victims. Others walked out silently to convey a somber message. Still others erupted into cheers as speakers addressed the crowds.



Students at Benito Juarez High School in Chicago walk out on March 14, 2018.

“I’m hoping students feel heard and inspired. This is not the end, but the beginning of a nationwide call for gun control,” said Syd Bakal, a senior at Barrington High School, where about 500 students walked out chanting “enough is enough.”

“There are teens like myself who are tired of lockdown drills, fear and perpetual mourning,” Bakal said.

At Barrington High School, students carried signs as they left the school’s stadium and walked roughly a half-mile to Memorial Park in downtown Barrington to host another rally, which organizers said was meant to raise awareness about the lack of federal gun-control laws. Drivers honked in support as they drove past the students along Main Street, while parents and residents lined the street, carrying signs that supported the students’ cause.

At West Aurora High School, an estimated 2,000 students — nearly half the student body — participated in a walkout to the high school’s football stadium, where they formed the words “never again.”

Scattered chants of “save the kids, ban the guns” broke out. Seventeen students were designated to represent the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, holding signs and flowers and intending to remain silent throughout the day.

“It doesn’t matter our age, we have a voice and we’re taking action,” said senior Alonso Cisneros.

District officials and students planned the walkout to the stadium and other, indoor events, including opportunities to write letters to lawmakers and providing voting information.

The roughly 100 students who participated in a previously staged walkout at West Aurora faced consequences ranging from unexcused absences to detention, the same discipline they would have faced any other time they left the building, officials have said. They cited security concerns as a reason for their reaction that time.

In Chicago, hundreds of students at Juarez High School marched out of campus and crowded the West Side building’s soccer field. They pinned yellow ribbons to their coats, and later knelt on the field to honor the memory of those killed or wounded by gun violence in their own community.

“Now is the time to come together to make the change happen in our society for our future,” said Nancy Chavez, a Juarez sophomore who addressed students at the Wednesday morning rally and called for them to support stricter gun control legislation.

“Everyone who is here listening — whether you’re black, white, brown, yellow, whatever you are or what you represent — your story is important. What I want from you is to stand with us and make a change and call ‘enough.’ Enough gun violence, enough bodies shot down, enough shootings, enough deaths among our old and our young people,” Chavez said.

Officially, Chicago Public Schools welcomed the city’s protests and promised students would not be punished for participating. Dignitaries including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Ald. Daniel Solis, 25th, plus former governor and attorney general candidate Pat Quinn visited campus for the rally.

“We support our students,” CPS chief Janice Jackson told reporters Tuesday. “We will not enact any disciplinary measures — we think it’s critically important that student voice is heard at this crucial point in our history as a nation.”

Juarez school officials, however, ordered the media to leave the property and barred photographers from documenting much of the school’s walkout.

At Hinsdale Central High School, where hundreds of students participated, students read the names and ages of each of the 17 Parkland victims before releasing red and white balloons into the sky.

“The students of Parkland basically instigated this movement and started fighting for change,” said 18-year-old Louise Irpino, of Hinsdale, who helped to organize her school’s walkout through Instagram. “People our age have a voice and they should be listened to.”

“The adults we look up to and who are in charge in Congress have failed us,” said Laine Williams, another student at Hinsdale Central. “When we go to school, we don’t know if we are coming home. We have to step up and fight for ourselves because they can’t instill common sense gun laws.”

At Oak Park and River Forest High School, students walked out in silence, many carrying hand-lettered signs calling for gun control. Dozens of parents lined the sidewalk across the street from the school. Several held signs of praise and encouragement, while others saluted the silent students with clenched fists.

“We feel like we’re being denied our right to safety in the school environment,” said Lyons Township High School junior Amanda Kural, who walked out with hundreds of classmates in La Grange. Another 60 community members watched from across the street with cheers. “Guns are so readily available, and something needs to be done about that.”

The swift mobilization of students across Illinois is an uprising that some school administrators say they haven’t seen in decades, and one that shows no signs of slowing down.

“I think our students and our teachers are leveraging this movement to inspire and influence more change and more awareness,” said Diana Shulla-Cose, co-founder and president of Perspectives Charter Schools in Chicago, where many of the students who planned to participate in Wednesday’s walkout have lost friends or family members to gun violence. “It’s rooted in heartache, in deep mourning, but there’s a sense of rising up right now and that feels good.”

Wednesday’s walkouts come two weeks after hundreds of high school students across the Chicago area walked out of school on Feb. 21, and another walkout is planned for April 20 — the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado. In a nationwide rally called March for Our Lives scheduled for March 24, students, parents and gun control advocates plan to take to the streets of Washington, D.C., Chicago and other cities across the country.

As students organized walkouts, educators were left to strike a delicate balance between encouraging young people’s civic engagement and the need to keep them safe.

While schools have the right to discipline students for not being present in class, many school officials have been supportive of the student-led walkouts and collaborated with student organizers to plan walkouts that are safe, meaningful and nonpolitical.

Still, many of the students who walked out Wednesday carried signs with pointed political messages such as “Protect our Children, Not Your Guns” with no-symbol over the “NRA.”

The paradox of keeping kids safe and refraining from political support played out in several school districts that changed plans at the eleventh hour.

Romeoville High School officials canceled a planned walkout after a student posted a photo of himself posing with what appeared to be a “threatening weapon,” Valley View School District Spokesman Jim Blaney said Wednesday. Students and parents reported the photo, which did not have a caption, to high school staff and police. Romeoville police investigated and confirmed “no viable threat to student safety,” Blaney said.

In lieu of the walkout, which was postponed to a yet-to-be-determined date, Romeoville High School Principal Derek Kinder planned to meet with students in the high school gym Wednesday morning, Blaney said.

In a letter to parents, Kinder noted police would be in the school to “monitor any other events or activities that were planned to occur near our campus.”

Organizers of a pro Second Amendment rally that had been planned in Romeoville canceled the rally due to the investigation. Police also noted the organizer of the counterprotest received a threat, which was being investigated.

Mary Callison, of Paw Paw, was among the small group of counterprotesters who still showed up in a parking lot behind Romeoville High School on Wednesday morning. Though there was no march, Callison said she wanted to show her support for gun rights.

“As a mom, I am heartbroken,” she said of recent shootings. “But we’re not addressing the real issue behind this. It’s not about a weapon. It’s about the people behind the weapon.”

In Grayslake, where school administrators had collaborated with students to plan a walkout, school officials moved the event indoors after some parents expressed concern.

Other school districts worked with student leaders to plan alternative gatherings, including meetings with local legislators or indoor rallies. Teachers and staff at schools where walkouts are planned will continue instruction for students who disagree with or don’t want to join the walkouts.

At Plainfield Community School District 202, administrators worked quickly in the last two weeks to come up with an alternative consequence for students who participate in walkouts Wednesday. Students will have the choice of attending a one-hour interactive forum with a state representative or state senator organized by district officials, or they can serve a traditional one-hour, after-school detention.

“I am particularly proud of our students for standing up for their beliefs, and for their commitment to making positive change,” District 202 Superintendent Lane Abrell wrote in a letter to parents this week. “At the same time, we recognize some students for a variety of reasons do not wish to participate in a walkout.”

Groups including the ACLU have offered training and tips to guide students, many of whom are becoming civically engaged for the first time. The Women’s March Youth Empower group, an offshoot of the Women’s March that fueled plans for the nationwide school walkout and march, posted an eight-page “#Enough! National School Walkout Tool Kit” on its website, offering to connect young organizers with seasoned activist mentors, providing templates for writing to school principals and including a live database of walkouts being planned across the U.S.

Tribune reporter Juan Perez Jr., Pioneer Press reporters Charles Fieldman, Todd Shields, Jennifer Johnson and Kimberly Fornek, Aurora Beacon-News reporter Sarah Freishtat, and freelance reporters Gianna Annunzio, Heather Cherone and Alicia Fabbre contributed.



Women’s March leader under fire for attending Farrakhan anti-Semitic speech…

Mallory defended herself in a string of tweets over the weekend amid growing backlash.


A Women’s March co-chair is fighting off calls to resign after being accused of supporting an anti-Semitic speech by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

Tamika D. Mallory has spent the last few days fending off waves of criticism for attending the strong-worded speech in Chicago late last month, during which Farrakhan spun the “Time’s Up” phrase against the “Satanic Jew.”

Farrakhan’s speech, which railed against Jewish people, has been widely denounced.


Mallory repeatedly tried to explain her stance, including with a thread of tweets after repeated backlash.

“I am and always have been against all forms of racism. I am committed to ending anti-black racism, antisemitism, homophobia & transphobia. This is why I helped create an intersectional movement to bring groups together,” she tweeted.

“I am a Black woman and a mother and while I do the hard work and learn along the way, I also won’t accept abuse and attacks. I won’t stand for it because I don’t deserve it. I risk my life every day so my Black son & live freely and safely. I hope you are committed to my son too.”

Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic remarks were part of a Savior’s Day speech, honoring Nation of Islam founder Wallace Fard Muhammad.

He repeatedly railed against Jewish people, alleging they controlled governments around the globe and “when you want something in this world, the Jew holds the door.”

The Anti-Defamation League lambasted Mallory and Women’s March co-founders Carmen Perez and Linda Sansour for past ties to Farrakhan.

Scarlett Johansson calls out James Franco at Women’s March

“It is impossible to imagine any other group being asked to tolerate seeing celebrities, public figures, and elected officials embrace a person who openly calls for their death,” ADL National Director Jonathan Greenblatt wrote in an op-ed published last week.

Perez told Refinery29 in January of Farrakhan, “There are no perfect leaders.”

Mallory helped establish the Women’s March, which has been held in January 2017 and 2018.


Mallory’s presence also upset participants of the Women’s March, which took place nationwide in January 2017 and earlier this year.

Musician Regina Spektor expressed her dismay, after performing in Los Angeles during the 2017 Women’s March.

“What do you think? Farrakhan speaks despicable lies/how can you stand with him. Gross…” she tweeted Friday.

Mallory, who tried to explain her positions in a string of tweets Sunday night, said her goal was to bring people together — not be divisive.


“Empathy for each other requires that we listen, reflect, attempt to understand, and give space for nuance & complexities of the different communities we come from. This isn’t gonna be easy. I know that,” she wrote.

The Women’s March said in a statement that Farrakhan’s comments don’t reflect its views.

“We will not tolerate anti-Semitism, racism, misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia and we condemn these expressions of hatred in all forms,” the statement read. “We love and value our sister and co-President Tamika Mallory, who has played a key role in shaping these conversations. Neither we nor she shy away from the fact that intersectional movement building is difficult and often painful.”

As country listens to Florida teens, Black Lives Matter youths feel ignored



Activist Lamon Reccord, 16, chants with other protesters at City Hall following Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s speech to the City Council in late 2015. (Jose Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

By Dahleen GlantonContact ReporterChicago Tribune

The young people of Black Lives Matter are hurt. And they have every right to be.

When they were protesting in the streets of cities across America, much of the country didn’t bother to listen to their message. They were not embraced by the mainstream for their bravery, their determination or resolve to bring attention to reckless police killings that disproportionately impact young African-Americans.

Some labeled them troublemakers, even terrorists. And in the aftermath of the student uprising over the mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., they are taking to social media to vent their disappointment.

It isn’t that they want to take any credit away from the courageous young people in Florida. Indeed, their vigilance in standing up for tighter gun control measures is admirable and welcomed.

In a tweet last week, Oprah Winfrey said the inspiring youths in Florida reminded her of the “Freedom Riders of the 60s who also said we’ve had ENOUGH and our voices will be heard.” She pledged to match George and Amal Clooney’s $500,000 donation to the youths’ March for Our Lives planned for March 24.

We should all applaud these teens for having the guts to stand up to lawmakers in the way that adults have failed to for far too long. We stand with them in the struggle to make our schools and our nation safer from mass killers who strike indiscriminately with semi-automatic weapons.

But shouldn’t we also pay attention when young people express their pain and frustration over the violent killings of unarmed African-American children and adults at the hands of unscrupulous police officers?

In response to Oprah’s tweet, Charlene Carruthers, national director of Black Youth Project 100, one of the groups involved in the protests that sprung out of the 2014 police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., tweeted this:

“I promise y’all. I’m happy for these young people. I just know how so many young people have put their lives on the line over the past five years. We’re rarely compared to Freedom Riders and recipients of such public support. I shouldn’t be bothered, but I am.”

Some of the young Black Lives Matter activists are asking why the responses have been so different.

These mostly African-American young people already know the answer, though. We all do.

It is because in America, black lives often don’t matter. But that’s a subject to be addressed at another time.

There also are some practical reasons why Black Lives Matter hasn’t attracted a more far-reaching audience. To join a movement, people must first agree that the cause is justifiable. Mainstream America doesn’t see police shootings that way.

In the backs of a lot of people’s minds, including some African-Americans, there is always the nagging question of whether people like 12-year-old Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling did something to provoke their deaths.

It is difficult for most Americans to identify with the issues that people in urban neighborhoods often face. But the ability to imagine oneself in an oppressed situation isn’t required in order to express empathy.

The Freedom Riders who went to Mississippi during the civil rights movement to register blacks to vote included lots of white students from the North whose rights never had been violated. But they fought on behalf of African-Americans in the South anyway, because they understood that our country could not thrive with one set of protections for one race and another set of rules for another.

Preventing mass shootings, particularly those in schools where the lives of innocent children are lost, is something most Americans can wrap their hearts around. To hear the stories of young victims — children who could have been any of ours regardless of race — has a natural way of bonding kindred spirits.

But more than that, the latest shooting in Florida was America’s tipping point. After years of experiencing such brutal slaughters, many of us have had enough. Perhaps it is because young people are demanding that we take action, so this time we are obligated to listen.

America isn’t yet at its tipping point with police brutality. The issue doesn’t come wrapped in a neat little package that the mainstream can feel comfortable with.

The Black Lives Matter movement is extremely marginalized. It is specifically about protecting African-American lives. It will take much more effort to get the rest of America on board with that cause.

But if the young people involved in Black Lives Matter are as smart as I think they are, they will not be silenced. If they are vocal enough, America will eventually reach its tipping point on the senseless police killings.

In the 1960s, America was forced to its tipping point over voting rights and segregation. There is no reason that young people can’t force mainstream America to at least act as though black lives matter.


Clues about how Nikolas Cruz slipped through cracks are emerging

Dan Lyman | Infowars.com – FEBRUARY 23, 2018

Bombshell claims alleging collusion between Broward County law enforcement and the Broward school district to protect criminal students from arrests and disciplinary action have been leveled by a journalist familiar with the protocols in practice.

According to information currently available, Parkland mass shooter Nikolas Cruz was visited by local law enforcement 39 times over the course of seven years and was also reported to the FBI at least twice, leaving many to wonder how he slipped through the cracks, evaded arrest, continued attending school, and legally purchased firearms that he would later use to kill 17 of his former classmates and teachers.

Some clues may have emerged from a report chronicled by the editors of the Conservative Treehouse (CTH), an independent blog, who have provided corroborating documentation that paint a very convincing picture for the circumstances that may have enabled Cruz to slip through the cracks.

Screen Shot 2018-02-23 at 2.47.06 PM

“I spent about 18 months in 2012, 2013 and 2014 investigating Broward and Miami-Dade school policies and how those policies transfer to law enforcement practices,” CTH explains. “What I stumbled upon was a Broward County law enforcement system in a state of conflict. The Broward County School Board and District Superintendent, entered into a political agreement with Broward County Law enforcement officials to stop arresting students for crimes.”

“The motive was simple. The school system administrators wanted to ‘improve their statistics’ and gain state and federal grant money for improvements therein.”

The 2013 “Collaborative Agreement On School Discipline” between the School Board of Broward County and the Sheriff of Broward Country, as well as the Fort Lauderdale Branch of the NAACP and a variety of other state and local legal bodies, can be found HERE.

In short, the agreement established new standards and practices by which law enforcement would seek alternatives to arresting students who had committed crimes or “minor disturbances,” with a specific focus on students of color, students with disabilities and LGBTQ students,” who were disproportionately impacted by school-based arrests for the same behavior as their peers.”

CTH asserts that the types of lawbreaking being swept under the rug quickly escalated from minor offenses to serious felonies.

“The need to continue lowering the arrests year-over-year meant that increasingly more severe unlawful behavior had to be ignored. Over time even the most severe of unlawful conduct was being filtered by responding police,” CTH writes. “We found out about it, when six cops blew the whistle on severe criminal conduct they were being instructed to hide.”

Media reports corroborate the external results of the new policies implemented in Broward, and school district superintendent Robert Runcie, who had been brought in from the Chicago public school system to mitigate the massive issues in Broward, was hailed as a hero as suspensions magically dropped by 40% percent and arrests by 66% in just two years.

The American Prospect reported at the time –

“Broward announced broad changes designed to mitigate the use of harsh punishments for minor misbehavior at the beginning of this school year. While other districts have amended their discipline codes, prohibited arrests in some circumstances, and developed alternatives to suspension, Broward was able to do all these things at once with the cooperation of a group that included a member of the local NAACP, a school board member, a public defender, a local sheriff, a state prosecutor, and several others.”

In 2015, Runcie was invited to join an Obama White House school discipline summit to share his ‘secrets to success’ in lowering student arrests and suspensions.

In 2016, Runcie was awarded ‘Florida Superintendent of the Year.’

The Miami Herald alluded to the types of oversights and ‘missed’ signs that enabled Nikolas Cruz to glide through the system in a report on Wednesday.

“And long before Cruz embarked on the worst school shooting in Florida history, Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies had multiple warnings that the 19-year-old was a violent threat and a potential school shooter, according to records released Thursday.”

“In November, a tipster called BSO to say Cruz ‘could be a school shooter in the making,’ but deputies did not write up a report on that warning. It came just weeks after a relative called urging BSO to seize his weapons. Two years ago, according to a newly released timeline of interactions with Cruz’s family, a deputy investigated a report that Cruz ‘planned to shoot up the school’ — intelligence that was forwarded to the school’s resource officer, with no apparent result.”

On Wednesday, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel revealed that an armed Parkland school officer, Scot Peterson, arrived on the scene at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as Cruz was in the process of killing 17 innocent victims, but never went inside the building to render aid.