CHICAGO RIDGE, IL — A handful of protestors showed up for a march that was to have passed through Chicago Ridge, Oak Lawn, Ashburn and Burbank. The march was to have started and ended at Chicago Ridge Mall, which had taken precautions for a much larger turnout.
Organized by Stephany Ochoa, of Chicago’s Ashburn neighborhood, the march called for the abolition of police, prison and ICE. An announcement of the route drew a flurry of comments from Patch readers:
“[BLM]....Its a complete BS false narrative cooked up by Marxist Democrats and a dishonest left-wing media in hope of guilting naive white suburban voters during an election year.”
“When will these marches start taking place in the crime infested neighborhoods where children are getting shot on a daily basis? When will they march up to a known gang bangers house , stop in front of the house and demand the gangbangers stop the shooting? I suspect never and you know why? They are afraid and the gangbangers might start shooting them. If that happens, who will the protesters ask to help them? The police.”
"Police, prison, ICE, white privilege and the narrow minded, racist thinking of some people are certainly the root of the problem! Until this mindset changes, people of color will face massive injustices and In equality. As a lifelong educator with several advanced degrees I have observed these injustices for a very long time. I apoologize for my white privilege on a daily basis. Many of the areas these brave Marchers will be walking through are still filled with hateful, racist people who perpetuate the problems. How many bullets were fired during the protests by black people? It was mostly white police and that kid who fired on and killed innocent people. No one's lives were threatened which would justify being shot! We must stand in March in solidarity and support with these people. All lives cannot matter until, first and foremost, black lives matter!"
"A new study was released by ACLED with statistics about the protests occurring in the United States for both Covid and BLM. They found that out of 10,100 protests across the US, nearly 95% of them were peaceful. It is a very thorough study and provides interesting insight into the media and police response to the protests."
"I support our police and our country!"
Two Chicago Ridge dump trucks blocked the 95th Street entrance to the mall and police presence was heavy. Chicago Ridge-resident Brian Guerin and his friend parked their Harley-Davidsons across the lot from where Ochoa stood waiting for other marchers to arrive.
“I’m here to back the blue,” Guerin said.
A woman drove up wearing a Trump 2020 face mask. “Am I trapped in here,” she asked, eyeing the dump trucks.
Informed that the other entrances to the mall were open, she stopped to chat with Guerin and his friend. She showed them the Marine Corps mask she just purchased for her Marine son.
The call to march appeared on neighborhood Facebook pages throughout the week. A Chicago Ridge official told Patch they were tipped off to the protest by Chicago police intelligence monitoring social media.
Ochoa rolled her eyes when told how her Facebook flier drew the attention of CPD intelligence. She said she was a community resident and the march was not affiliated with any particular group. A total of four protesters arrived, all of whom appeared to be reasonable and peaceful people.
The group decided to give people more time to show up, and moved down the sidewalk by the entrance to Bed, Bath and Beyond.
They circled around the sidewalk where mall security and police blocked the doorway. Ochoa turned on a bullhorn as African-American shoppers walked past them to enter the mall.
“Black Lives Matter. Black Women’s Lives matter,” Ochoa chanted into a bullhorn.
A security officer in a white shirt ordered the protesters to leave.
“This is private property. You’re not getting into this building.”
Chief Rob Pyznarski, of the Chicago Ridge Police Department, corroborated that only four people turned out for the march in a written statement:
"They attempted to gain entry into the mall. Mall management and security stopped them from entering the mall as the head protester [Ochoa] was holding a megaphone. So they peacefully marched along east side of the mall to Ridgeland Avenue to 95th Street. Then [to the] front of Sears and then back to 95th and Ridgeland. They crossed over to Oak Lawn where one or two more protesters stopped and went home. Other than that no police contact what so ever and no issues at all."
If more information becomes available, Patch will update this story.