Live Updates: Chicago Protests and Unrest

Kids-focused events among local demonstrations today

Children’s Demonstration
Steven Westman and his friend Juan Teague participate in a kids march to end racism on Chicago's South Side on Saturday morning. Westman brought his children Jamarion (right), Jaylen and Jacob (left, in stroller). Michael Puente / WBEZ

Numerous rallies, marches or other events calling for an end to racism and police brutality are being held in Chicago today, including two where the goal was teaching children about peaceful protest.

One event began at 9 a.m. at Mandrake Park at 3858 S. Cottage Grove Ave. on the city’s South Side. Around 300 people made signs and then marched to the Rainbow PUSH headquarters at 50th and S. Drexel Blvd.

“I’m exhausted because I had to walk a mile from the park to over here,” said nine-year-old Jaylen Westman.

Westman participated in his first protest march to end racism that was geared for children.

“I learned about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Westman said.

Steven Westman, who is white, wanted to bring his three African-American children to the march for better understanding of the issues for himself and them.

“To be frank, I rely on a lot of my black friends,” he said. “I know you’re not supposed to lean on your black friends to tell you everything about black people but as a white father of three black boys I feel like there are questions that I am not best served answering. Events like this are beyond helpful in betting a better dad, being a better citizen and being a better mentor to these guys.”

The event was sponsored by Jack and Jill of America Inc., a group founded in 1938 that creates opportunities for American American children.

Another event dubbed “Kid-In Humboldt Park” was planned from noon to 2 p.m. on the West Side and described itself as a “kid-led expression around racial justice and in defense of black lives.” That gathering was encouraging families to bring signs, instruments, kites and sidewalk chalk,” among other things.

At least six other demonstrations are planned to take place in the city and suburbs today.