Lessons from Grant Park

“The medics and community of organizers and protesters were kind and loving to one another. We did our best to keep us all safe. I am proud to be part of this community. This was my first time being beaten and harmed with chemicals and the solidarity and organizing skills demonstrated at this action make me feel brave and ready to fight harder.”

-Anonymous protestor from Black & Indigenous Solidarity Rally

Download report PDF here and appendix here

Content warning: This report contains content that some readers may find disturbing, including graphic depictions of police violence and bodily harm inflicted upon protestors.

On July 17th, 2020, the Chicago Police Department brutalized protestors in Grant Park. Following a Black & Indigenous Solidarity Rally attended by hundreds at Buckingham Fountain, protestors marched to the corner of Roosevelt Road and South Columbus Drive where they attempted to pull down a Christopher Columbus Statue. The attempt was met by a brutal attack from CPD who deployed batons, chemical weapons, and protestors’ own possessions against them. The viciousness and lawlessness of the attack constituted a riot—led and sustained for hours by the Chicago Police Department against unarmed protestors. The following report was published by Black Lives Matter Chicago and endorsed by Chi Nations Youth Council, OCAD, and DSA-Chicago to counter the media’s false reporting on the attack and its aftermath.

This report has three aims: 

  • To provide a truthful and protestor-centered account of the brutality that took place 
  • To report the significant after-effects, both physical and mental, experienced by protestors
  • To impart lessons learned from July 17th and prepare people for future police attacks by capturing the police riot tactics witnessed that night

It is our hope that this report gives voice to the freedom fighters of the July 17th struggle at Grant Park and honors and supports the larger struggle for Black and Indigenous autonomy in Chicago and beyond.

#WeTakeCareofUs #Fuck12 #FuckColumbus #DefundPolice #AbolishCPD #DecolonizeZhigaagoong #NoCopsOnStolenLand #LandBack