Fred Hampton

Federal Plaza, downtown Chicago. (image: matthew cassel)
Federal Plaza, downtown Chicago. (image: matthew cassel)

Fred Hampton spoke here. 1969, the world was revolting — against what? Most who took part probably couldn’t even articulate their reasons well. But it didn’t matter. It was an energy amongst the people, a feeling of unity, a feeling that we’re not used to.

Who should be expected to explain why a war is bad? I remember when I was 21 and I was asked by a reporter, “Why are you against this war?”

A simple question that I couldn’t answer. Thinking back, I should’ve answered with the question, “Why is anyone for it?”

We all struggle every day. To make it to work, to pay our bills, to be at peace with our loved ones. So why kill and destroy?

I am tired, we are all tired, some more than others.

Who knows what they’re doing in Washington. I’ve seen them on TV: happy, fat, white, rich. And they are my saviors, our saviors. They determine what I will eat tonight, or how much time I can spend with my daughter, or if someone can help me about this persistent pain in my chest.

I hear them talking about what is best for me. But do they know? Do they ever think to ask?

I am against war because I am a person like any other. I want a family, I want time to smile, to relax, to live.

Fred Hampton understood. And he was killed. Many others also understood, maybe at one point we all did. Maybe right now we all do.

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