CHICAGO (CBS) — Kanye West was in attendance Thursday evening for a protest rally in solidarity with George Floyd, who died at the hands of Minneapolis police last week.
The rally was organized by activist and onetime mayoral candidate Ja’Mal Green. It is intended to protest the $33 million contract that Chicago Police has with Chicago Public Schools.
The protest began at 7 p.m. at the Chicago Public Schools District Office, 4655 S. Dearborn St., and proceeded to Chicago Police Headquarters. West did not address the rally and only marched briefly.
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West was wearing a hoodie and mask, and was walking along with hundreds of people. Thursday, of course, marked Floyd’s funeral.
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, there have been calls for West to speak out and have more of a voice in recent days.
He has made a $2 million dollar donation to support the families of Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. Taylor was shot and killed by Louisville Metro Police in March, while three white men are charged with shooting and killing Arbery while he was jogging in Glynn County, Georgia.
The donation includes funding for legal fees for Arbery and Taylor’s families, along with black-owned businesses in need here in Chicago and other cities.
West also has set up a college fund for Floyd’s 6-year old daughter.
Meanwhile, Minneapolis Public Schools this week canceled its contract with that city’s police department, prompting calls for the same to happen in Chicago.
“Research shows that the mere presence of police officers in school increases the likelihood that a student will be referred to law enforcement for adolescent behavior,” organizers said in a news release. “School-based arrests fall more harshly on students of color.”
Protesters were joined by students, who asked Chicago Public Schools chief executive officer Dr. Janice Jackson and Mayor Lori Lightfoot to cancel the CPD’s contract, and put the money to other uses.
The group wants to see CPS funds redirected to funds for mandatory trained and specialized therapists in schools, art-based extracurricular activities, mandatory education on the American history of race and schools that would be taught by black educators, restorative practices for behavior rather than exclusionary discipline, and community garden and service opportunities.
The protest headed to Chicago Public Safety Headquarters at 35th Street and Michigan Avenue, before continuing along 35th Street through Bronzeville. A wall of police officers met the protesters at Police Headquarters, but the protest remained peaceful.
Earlier, thousands also protested on the city’s North Side – starting at Lincoln Park High School and heading to the Police Academy and the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center on the West Side.