Chicago prepares for Magnificent Mile protests

A new wave of protests plans to take over Chicago's Magnificent Mile on Christmas Eve.

AP Photo/M. Spencer Green
Gloria Pinex holds a photo of her son Darius Pinex, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015, photo at her home in Chicago. Darius, was killed by Chicago police in 2011. After the recently released video of a Chicago officer firing 16 bullets into the body of Laquan McDonald, Pinex said, "That video showed what we are going through out here, what these police officers are covering up."

The “Magnificent Mile” also known as The Mag Mile, is an iconic stretch in Chicago’s downtown. It’s mostly known for its upscale shopping malls and high-end restaurants, including the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, and the Trump Hotel.

But this year, the Mag Mile may also be home to the next round of Chicago protestors, who are planning a protest dubbed #BlackChristmas on New Year’s Eve. The upcoming protests are a part of a series of a larger Black Lives Matter movement in Chicago that began after a video was released revealing the murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by white police officer Jason Van Dyke.

A video of the shooting was published internationally and was followed by a series of peaceful protests in Chicago after Thanksgiving. The protests led to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel firing Garry F. McCarthy, the superintendent of the Chicago police department.

But protestors didn’t stop there.

In one of the largest protests Chicago has seen in years, protestors flooded downtown Chicago, shutting down Michigan Avenue and chanting “Fire Rahm!” They also called for Cook County’s State Attorney, Anita Alvarez, to resign. Mr. Emanuel has struggled to regain support as protestors continue to call for his resignation. According to a recent poll, the majority of Chicagoans want Emanuel to resign, while only 30 percent want him to remain. 

The upcoming protests will be a new test to Emanuel’s ability to control a disenchanted population of activists, which have formed an umbrella group known as “Coalition for a New Chicago” and is specifically targeting Emanuel.

The McDonald video was a turning point in an issue that has been brewing for decades – causing the US Department of Justice to investigate the Chicago Police Department. Although Mr. Emanuel resisted a federal investigation, he has since changed course.

“We welcome them. They’re here, we’re gonna fully cooperate everybody and it is in our self-interest as a city that they’re here,” Emanuel said.

The Magnificent Mile protests are planned on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, and business owners are already predicting to lose between 25 and 50 percent of business, according to ABC.

“We’re going to pray for our city, pray for our leaders here. But we’re also going to march down the street,” Pastor Gregory Livingston, founder of a Coalition for a New Chicago, told ABC 7 News. “We’re going to be singing, chanting and everything else. But we are going to be a peaceful, disruptive force down on Michigan Avenue from about noon to 5 o’clock that evening.”

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