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Excerpted from:  Alison Hill, Political Activism: Chicago Politicians' Silence When Black Lives Matter, 21 Public Interest Law Reporter 72 (Fall 2015)(Footnotes) (Full Document)


AlisonHillThe Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has pressured Democratic politicians on the national stage to take a hard stance on police brutality, excessive force, and misconduct, yet the BLM network has not endorsed one candidate for president. The presidential campaign acts as an easy avenue for BLM to get their message to the masses by forcing a national discussion. Police reform is topical during the Democratic primary due to BLM's strength in forcing the candidates and prominent Democratic leaders to take a stance. For example, BLM activists rushed the stage at a Bernie Sanders speech, forcing the candidate to develop an anti-police brutality policy in the national spotlight.

However, effectuating noticeable police reform turns to local communities, where the question becomes: has BLM done enough locally? BLM pressures political officials to take action when unarmed black people are shot by police while also fighting against those who fail to prosecute officer misconduct. BLM activists pressured the City of Chicago to fight for black lives when Rekia Boyd was shot and killed in 2012 by an off-duty Chicago detective who was not subsequently convicted of a crime. Rekia's name has been placed alongside other high profile police brutality cases such as Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, and Freddie Gray. Chicago has recently seen a heightened level of political activism, and state and local political officials have been forced to take action.