If you don't know Chicago, UIC is the University of Illinois at Chicago, a large campus just west of downtown Chicago. The neighborhoods west of UIC and the medical center are considered the west side of Chicago. These neighborhoods are poor and desperate. These were the neighborhoods where Fred Hampton was gunned down by the Chicago police department in a raid against the Black Panthers. It's been nearly fifty years since those events, but it's never been too far from the surface.
Donald Trump canceled his rally at the UIC Pavilion Friday evening due to concerns about safety, according to his spokesperson.
A speaker came out to the podium and made an announcement.
"Mr. Trump just arrived in Chicago and after meeting with law enforcement has determined that for the safety of all the tens of thousands of people that have gathered in and around the arena, tonight's rally will be postponed until another date. Thank you very much for you attendance and please go in peace," he said.
The 10,000 seat Pavilion was nearly filled when the rally was canceled. As the crowd waited for the event to begin, it became apparent that it included at least hundreds of protesters. Activist Jedidiah Brown told me he and other infiltrators were on a mission to disrupt Trump's speech as often as possible.After all, what represents American values more than shouting down people you disagree with?
"How does a man who speaks a message that's going to take America backwards become the possible frontrunner of an entire party that represents American values?" Brown asked.
The crowd of protesters outside the area swelled to at least 1,000 people. Some attendees said they had signed up for tickets, but those tickets were never collected so anyone could have gotten into the event. Protesters surrounded the Pavilion, heckling attendees as they left.
Protesters outside the Pavilion were loud, but peaceful. Inside the Pavilion, there appeared to be thousands of protesters in attendance, mostly young people and UIC students. At the announcement, undercover protesters who had entered the Pavilion as Trump supporters broke into wild celebration, shouting "We stopped Trump! We stopped Trump!"
Well, did they? I'm not so sure. This much I do know -- we're in for an ugly summer.