Chicago students call to cut ties with police despite city’s 139 percent murder spike
- College students in Chicago are organizing efforts to encourage their schools to end contracts with law enforcement officials.
- The organization hosted a “block party” to “demand police free campuses."
- The effort comes even as Chicago's crime rate has skyrocketed in recent weeks.
Students across the Chicago metropolitan area came together Saturday to advocate for their universities to cut ties with the "white supremacist cult" of the Chicago Police Department.
Students from Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, DePaul University, Roosevelt University, Loyola University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Columbia College, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign formed an organization called Solidarity Street “to build community & demand police free campuses.”
Students from the eight Illinois schools issued several demands, including for each of their institutions to "end all ties with the CPD & FOP and refuse to work with ICE" and "dismantle campus police systems..." Instead, the students want their schools to "invest in transformative justice processes and programs..."
The demands to divest from the Chicago Police Department and to abolish campus police forces come even as the number of murders reported in the nation's third-largest city in July 2020 was 139 percent more than in July 2019, The number of shootings in Chicago also increased by 75 percent in July 2020 from the same month the year before. The number of murders in Chicago from January 2020 through July 2020 was up 51 percent, and the number of shootings in the city year to date is up 47 percent, WLS-TV reported.
A post shared by Solidarity Street's Instagram page, which has more than 1,700 followers, has a number of graphics that express the organization’s feelings toward law enforcement. One post states, "when we say all cops are bastards, we mean all cops."
The organization posted a graphic that attempts to explain why cops shouldn’t be considered workers: “Cops are not workers. A worker is someone that sells their labor to make ends meet. Cops do not do this. They defend the interests and property of the wealthy. Cops do not need a pay raise. They need to be defunded. They are the armed wing of the American capitalist state.”
The group states in yet another post its desire to "get rid of" the private security industry as well.
Solidarity Street's event on Saturday was called the “Abolish CPD Block Party.”
Sponsors of the event included BLM Chicago, DePaul Socialists, Northwestern Community Not Cops, and Sexpectations Chicago.
Attendees were provided with “a guide to making your protesting experience as safe as possible,” which included tips on how to maximize their anonymity. Another tip encouraged attendees to "purchase a burner phone" to eliminate their "digital footprint."
“If you are White, occupy the perimeters of the march/action and do NOT instigate destructive behavior. Your actions will reflect on the BLM movement and directly impact comrades of color," another one of the group's post states.
The event drew a significant number of students to the streets of Chicago, the scale of which was highlighted in a video posted on Twitter.
Colleges students in/around Chicago, Illinois are taking to the streets “to build community & demand police free campuses.” - @SolidarityStCHI #ChicagoProtests #defundCPD #AbolishCPD #SolidarityStreet pic.twitter.com/G0QHzbVUg6— Vashon (@vashon_photo) August 2, 2020
The organization advised all of its attendees to get tested for coronavirus following the event. However, the group informed its followers on Twitter on Tuesday that one of its "legal observers" had tested positive for the virus, although it's unclear whether the individual contracted it at the protest.
Campus Reform reached out to Solidarity Street and the Fraternal Order of Police but did not receive a response in time for publication.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @opheliejacobson