Protest Sign

A CPS Alum Shares His Experience at Last Night’s Protests

Editor’s Note: Chris Brown is an alum of Harlan High School, an Englewood resident, a photographer, and a member of the #LetUsBreathe Collective. He attended last night’s march from Lincoln Park to the Juvenile Detention Center. A sister march started at the Chicago Public Schools offices (former Coleman Elementary) at 47th and Dearborn and ended at Chicago Police Headquarters, 35th and Michigan. Among other demands, protesters called on CPS to end its $33 million contract with CPD for police protection in high schools.

Today I pushed myself to step back into the battle field, bruises, sprains, and all. And we marched from up north to out west to the juvenile detention center. Through that adventure we visited the police training academy by Whitney Young High School.

We were met by the Illinois National Guard, who had automatic weapons, and 12 [Chicago police] who had sticks and shields. They completely surrounded the building even though we had no intention of looting or rioting.

Being completely transparent I was scared and just wanted to leave and go home at that point. They looked exactly like the folks that beat my ass and locked me up. However with the love of the person who made sure I got out of jail, I told my story again and we all sat in silence for eight minutes. Which is how long George Floyd had a foot on his neck.

There was a ask for the officers who surrounded us to take a knee or sit down with us. Only three officers sat with us.

I love y’all…I believe we will win..I’m fucking tired…

But the work has to be done.

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Maureen Kelleher

Maureen Kelleher

Chicago Unheard blog manager Maureen Kelleher also serves as a senior writer and editor at brightbeam, a nonprofit network of education activists demanding a better education and brighter future for every child. Before joining the brightbeam team, she spent a decade as a reporter, blogger and policy analyst. Her work has been published across the education world, from Education Week to the Center for American Progress. Between 1998 and 2006 she was an associate editor at Catalyst Chicago, the go-to magazine covering Chicago’s public schools. There, her reporting won awards from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the International Reading Association and the Society for Professional Journalists. A former high school English teacher, she is also the proud mom of an elementary student in the Chicago Public Schools. Find her on Twitter at @KelleherMaureen.

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