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'Black Wall Street' Will Block Trading Centers Friday: Activists

By Alex Nitkin | January 11, 2016 5:04pm | Updated on January 11, 2016 6:07pm
 Activist William Calloway (l) called on Mayor Emanuel to release videos showing the 2013 fatal shooting of Cedrick Chatman at the hands of police.
Activist William Calloway (l) called on Mayor Emanuel to release videos showing the 2013 fatal shooting of Cedrick Chatman at the hands of police.
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DNAinfo/Alex Nitkin

SOUTH SHORE — The organizers behind the "Black Friday" and "Black Christmas" protests are setting their sights on the city's financial district next, they announced in a Monday news conference.

Flanked by relatives of police shooting victims, leaders of the Coalition for a New Chicago called on protesters to crowd the Chicago Board of Trade and other stock exchanges around 6 a.m. Friday to prevent employees there from entering the buildings.

Calling previous disruptions of shopping on Michigan Avenue "a tremendous success," Coalition for a New Chicago President Rev. Gregory Livingston said the protest, dubbed "Black Wall Street," will aim to prevent "billions" of dollars of trade profits from flowing through the downtown center.

"We want people to know that poor people across this city are in pain, so we look at this as a redistribution of that pain," Livingston said. "Since the mayor has made it clear he only listens to the monied interests in this city, we're going to take it straight to them."

Leaders said protesters will convene around 6 a.m. Friday on Jackson Boulevard near LaSalle Street, blocking floor traders from getting to the Chicago Board of Trade or the Chicago Board of Options.

The activists made their announcement at the corner of 75th Street and Jeffrey Avenue, the same intersection where Officer Kevin Fry shot and killed 17-year-old Cedrick Chatman in January 2013. They demanded the release of three surveillance videos they say show the teen running full-speed away from the plain clothes officer as he falls to the ground.

"At the same time that the mayor was making a speech calling for a new age of transparency, his corporate counsel was fighting to keep us from seeing what really happened here," said activist William Callaway, who was heavily involved in forcing city officials to turn over the video of Laquan McDonald's death at the hands of police. "If Rahm wants to act on the transparency he promised, he needs to make a call to have that video released immediately."

A lawsuit is pending against the city on behalf of Chatman's mother, Linda Chatman, claiming that Fry used excessive force when he fired four shots at the teen. A hearing before Judge Robert Gettleman is scheduled for Thursday.

Activists also called Monday for elected officials and religious leaders to boycott an interfaith breakfast with Emanuel scheduled for this Friday, Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.

Accepting an invitation to this event would be "branding yourself as a traitor and a sell-out, who cares more about profit than people," Livingston said. "If any public officials are still helping the mayor propagandize, they need to recuse themselves from public service."

Another group is planning a protest outside Emanuel's Ravenswood home at 4 p.m. Thursday, according to a Monday Facebook Post by teenage activist Lamon Reccord.

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