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Mt. Greenwood Protests & Marist Classes Canceled Amid Threats, Safety Concerns

By Stephen Gossett in News on Nov 11, 2016 4:13PM

Protersters demonstrate in Mt. Greenwood on November 8 / Photo: Tyler LaRiviere

Young activists on Thursday canceled a protest planned for Friday, which was to include a demonstration near Marist High School, in Mt. Greenwood, after threats were made to their safety, the group said. Marist, meanwhile, canceled scheduled classes for Friday, also citing safety concerns.

The group Black Lives Matter Youth will instead meet on Friday afternoon with local officials—including Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson; Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th), who represents Mt. Greenwood; and Marist Principal Larry Tucker—to discuss “productive changes in the city and in Mt. Greenwood for the betterment of the Black community.” The sides will meet at Police Headquarters downtown. BLM Youth plans to march to Wrigley Square in Millennium Park after the meeting.

BLM Youth reached out to supporters for questions to pose to the officials. Some CPS students feared posing questions via social media for fear of more threats, BLM Youth organizers said.

The group on Thursday shared examples of hate speech and terrifying reports of racially-motivated threats.

Five Marist students were expelled after their racist text-message conversation was posted on social media. It followed tense, concurrent protests on Tuesday night in the predominantly white Mt. Greenwood neighborhood between the Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter movements. Protesters countered each other over the weekend, also. Some members of the Blue Lives Matter-sympathetic crowd were heard shouting racial slurs and wielding racist signs. The actions followed the fatal, police-involved shooting of Joshua Beal.

Marist on Thursday posted the following statement on their website, notifying of the Friday class cancellations:

"After communicating with local officials and assessing the situation internally, we feel it is in the best interest of our school community to not be in session tomorrow. Not only is safety our first concern, but limiting disruptions to the learning process is vital to our students’ success. Additionally, we have learned that an approximate five block stretch of 115th Street in front of Marist will be blocked off starting at noon tomorrow, making entering and exiting nearly impossible. We encourage everyone in the Marist community to use this day as opportunity to reflect and pray that our school, city, and nation come together in peace and mutual respect."