The last few days have been surreal. The protests that started in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd have continued daily in many cities, including Chicago. Dozens of major cities have implemented curfews because while the protests have been overwhelmingly peaceful during the day many cities are experiencing violence and looting at night. On Monday evening and Tuesday afternoon those protests came to Wrigley Field.
It’s been striking to see Wrigley Field and Wrigleyville as the frame for this historical moment and I wanted to share some of the images I’ve taken walking around the neighborhood the last 24 hours.
As news spread that the protest marches would be taking place on the North Side of Chicago local businesses prepared in a lot of different ways. The Cubs office building and the shops nearby have butcher paper covering all of the windows and outdoor furniture and trashcans have been removed.
Other businesses on Clark, Addison and Sheffield have boarded up their windows:
Nisei Lounge took a unique approach to greeting the protesters. They did not board up their windows like their neighbors, but they did very publicly support the right to protest while kindly informing people that they had no money or liquor on the premises:
Closed until further notice. Official Nisei Lounge statement. pic.twitter.com/7eYiZVHIaY— Nisei Lounge Chicago (@NiseiLounge) June 1, 2020
Interestingly the Cubs Store inside Wrigley Field also took a unique approach to deterring any potential looters in the neighborhood, reminding people that it is currently a Food Bank Distribution Center for Lakeview Pantry on a homemade sign:
There was an absolutely stunning moment on Monday night as hundreds of protesters took a knee for a moment of silence in front of the Wrigley Field Marquee:
That picture had me in tears on my couch, but a lot of people rightly pointed out the Wendella ad on the marquee seemed out of place. Someone with the Cubs clearly heard that criticism because the marquee was part of Tuesday afternoon’s protests:
I am going to pause here for a minute because when I posted that tweet I got more than a bit of fair pushback that the marquee gesture was worthless or irrelevant, particularly given Pete Ricketts unfortunate statements yesterday. I will be the first to admit that the marquee is not enough, but I do think it is worth noting how rare it is that the Cubs pull advertising off the marquee for a single message when games aren’t going on. In fact, this is the third time I can recall a message that didn’t rotate with advertisements, the others were the first few days of the “World Series Champions” message and last week’s “Congratulations Class of 2020” message. I have no idea if it was virtue signaling or solidarity. The Cubs are a large organization, I imagine it was a bit of both. The vast majority of protesters at the corner of Clark and Addison seemed to appreciate the gesture despite its inadequacy.
There were hundreds of people peacefully marching down Clark Street on Tuesday afternoon as the real feel temperatures approached 90 degrees. Dozens of Lakeview residents lined the streets with water, snacks and Gatorade, dozens more showed their support by honking as protesters passed.
As of Tuesday afternoon I didn’t see damage to buildings or property in walking around the neighborhood today, but peaceful protests during the day have given way to violence at night in cities across the country and it doesn’t appear that Chicago is taking any changes on the North Side tonight. I can already hear the sirens and helicopters that kept me up until 2 a.m. on Monday outside my window as I settle in for another night under curfew during the COVID-19 pandemic.