(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.

(DO YOU STILL WANT TO GIVE UP YOUR GUNS AMERICA?) – Shock Video: Chicago Inmates Applaud as Cop Killer Walks By


Cook County Jail inmates waiting to see a judge applauded as accused cop killer Shomari Legghette walked by.

The incident is being investigated and authorities promise those inmates who clapped will be disciplined.

Legghette is accused of killing Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer.


On Thursday, Legghette shuffled into the courtroom, with the eyes of nearly 50 police officers trained squarely on him.

“This case is truly tragic and disheartening to the entire city,” Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said.

Outside of the Cook County Criminal Court building, flags fluttered at half-staff.

Inside, a courtroom packed with police officers, including CPS Superintendent Eddie Johnson, were at full attention.

“The commander was a leader in the department, a devoted father, and husband,” Foxx said.

Police say the 44-year-old Legghette was in downtown Chicago on Tuesday afternoon when tactical officers approached him because he was acting suspiciously. After a brief scuffle, he ran away.

Police said the 53-year-old Bauer, who identified himself as a police officer, grabbed Legghette and was holding him when he and the suspect fought. Authorities say both fell down a stairwell before Legghette allegedly shot him.

Foxx said Legghette fired seven shots at Cmdr. Bauer. He was hit by six of those shots – and suffered wounds to his head, neck, torso, back and wrist.

Foxx described the heart-breaking scene, where police found Cmdr. Bauer’s body.

“Cmdr. Bauer’s weapon was holstered and secured when his body was found. Cmdr. Bauer’s police radio and handcuffs were on the ground next to his body,” she said.

Seconds later, Legghette was arrested in the stairwell.

You might think that this sort of outburst is common—that suspects who are accused of killing a cop are treated as heroes.

Such is not always the case:

A friend of mine, who worked in the Illinois Corrections Division at several state prisons and before retiring, told me cop killers were just the same as all of the other convicts. He never saw the other inmates worship them because befriending them might draw the ire of the guards.

He admitted that guards might be a little heavy handed in dealing with cop killers and the other inmates knew that guilt by association was common with the guards.

One thing he did say was that gang members out of Chicago actually got mad at a gang member convicted of hurting or killing a cop because try knew that the wrath of the officer’s department was gonna come down on those on the street. And come down hard.

It’s not the high and mighty status seen in the movies and on TV.

It may be that one reason inmates cheered the death of a policeman is that Chicago’s police have been unfairly targeted by activists like Black Lives Matter, who have smeared the entire police force in the process. There is little doubt that there are bad apples in the CPD. Every department has them. It might be that Chicago’s police department is more corrupt than some others.

But the deliberate and conscious ginning up of outrage at the actions of a few cops impacts the entire community, leaving a negative impression of the police and spreading fear unnecessarily.

A thug like Legghette doesn’t need to find an excuse to kill a policeman. What is the excuse of those inmates who applauded?

(KNOW YOUR ENEMY!) – Congressman Asks if Trump Had ‘Lynching Tree’ at Black History Month Event

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) stops to talk with reporters before a meeting in Chicago on June 10, 2013. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)


WASHINGTON – Asked about President Trump’s remarks at Tuesday’s White House Black History Month ceremony, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), who hadn’t seen the event, asked PJM if the administration displayed a “lynching tree” there.

“Lynching? What did they have? A tree like out in Alabama they used to lynch with?” Rush asked during an interview Tuesday evening after the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Avoice Heritage Celebration recognizing African-American veterans.

When Rush was told there wasn’t a lynching tree at the White House, he replied, “Oh, they didn’t have that? He didn’t do a replica of a lynching tree?”

The theme of the White House’s Black History Month ceremony was “African-Americans in Times of War.” During the event, Trump reiterated his remarks about a record-low African-American unemployment. The rate in December was 6.8 percent; the lowest previous rate was 7 percent in April 2000. The current trend began falling in June 2013, when the rate was 14.2 percent.

Rush, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was asked if he thinks the low rate is evidence that the administration’s policies are working for African-Americans.

“Oh, absolutely not. The unemployment rate for our whole nation is coming down and it had nothing to do with Trump,” Rush said. “It started years ago under Obama, really before Obama, but during the Obama years. So [Trump] can’t take credit for that. And there are too many African-Americans who are underemployed, and until we deal with the issue of underemployment of African-Americans there’s no reason to rejoice.”

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) was also asked if there is a correlation between the African-American unemployment rate and the Trump administration’s policies.

“I have no factors that would allow me to comment on a random statement about African-American unemployment,” Jackson Lee replied. “I know that in the policy sector, we continue to work to provide opportunities for our young people.”

PJM asked Rush, an Army veteran, if he supports the Trump administration’s efforts to reform the Veterans Affairs administration.

“No. He’s been lethargic in terms of his support for veterans. A lot of it emanates from the fact that he is not a veteran so he can’t really empathize with veterans,” said Rush, who skipped Trump’s State of the Union address.

“He can try to create a national parade down Pennsylvania Avenue so that everybody can salute him,” the congressman added, noting again Trump’s lack of military service. “He has the form and rhetoric for being an advocate for veterans, but he doesn’t have the substance.”

Trump has asked the Department of Defense to plan a military parade that would possibly showcase troops and hardware like the Bastille Day parade the president openly admired in France. White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney estimated today that a military parade would cost between $10 million and $30 million.

Rush said he’s “absolutely not” a fan of the idea “unless you really are going to highlight the veterans who are struggling and the effects of war and not try to mesmerize people with the military war equipment.”

“The human effects of war – that’s what needs to be highlighted,” he emphasized.