A group of black pastors boycotted Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s annual Martin Luther King breakfast on Friday, over his handling of police killings, and one pastor attended the event but interrupted it with protest chants before being escorted out.
A handful of religious leaders joined protesters who blocked one entrance to the Hyatt Hotel where the breakfast was being held, chanting demands that Emanuel step down.
But hundreds of Chicago’s African-American leaders did attend the breakfast – started in the 1980s by the city’s first black mayor, Harold Washington – and the event to honor civil rights leader King.
“This boycott is not in opposition to Harold Washington nor Martin Luther King Jr. This boycott stands for the very cause that they stood for, it was through protesting that achievement was made. To sit by and do nothing is to endorse what is going on,” said Bishop Edgar Mullins, pastor of Grace Family Worship Center church, one of the boycotters.
This is precisely why the politically crafty Emanuel sat on the video of Laquan McDonald being shot until after his re-election. He knew it would be harder to get rid of him once the voters had returned him to office. It’s almost certain that he wouldn’t have won had the video been released prior to the election.
Now, there are an ever increasing number of voices calling for Emanuel to step down, but the likelihood of a guy who would do what he did with the video just to keep the office voluntarily leaving it isn’t great. The Chicago voters are going to have to recall him, as he is probably slick enough to avoid any real criminal trouble as a result of his actions.
It’s also Chicago. They’re mad at Emanuel for being exactly the kind of corrupt, ruthless politician they seem to place a premium on.