Crusader Staff Report
Activists Tio Hardiman and the Reverend Gregory Livingston have split over plans to shut down the Kennedy Expressway on Labor Day for a peace march.
The two recently led a peace march that shut down Lake Shore Drive on the North Side and ended at Wrigley Field, where demonstrators called for the resignation of Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
But according to a press release emailed to the Chicago Crusader, Hardiman on Tuesday, August 7, announced that he is no longer associated with Livingston.
In his press release, Hardiman said during the Lake Shore Drive protest, Livingston wanted demonstrators to go to jail for the cause. Hardiman said he refused to allow marchers to “participate in civil disobedient tactics that would land them in jail or prompt aggressive force by law enforcement authorities.”
Hardiman said the main strategy to shut down Lake Shore Drive was to put pressure on “the mayor and police superintendent by disrupting life –a little- of the more affluent North Side.
“We fell out over this; he used me,” Hardiman said. “He is trying to use this as a stepping stone for his own career.”
Hardiman said Livingston had the same idea, for protestors to be arrested, as they shut down the Kennedy Expressway leading to O’Hare Airport.
Hardiman, who twice ran for governor in Illinois, said he does not agree with Livingston’s ideas.
“The Lake Shore Drive shutdown was a great success, and no one got arrested, and there was no violence. Tio Hardiman has no intentions of disrupting travel during the Labor Day weekend on the Kennedy Expressway,” according to the press release.
“My job as a leader is to make sure the people are safe, period. He wants to do something else, and I am not trying to get people arrested. We are peaceful demonstrators and professional, and I don’t want us to be seen as simply some rebellious, radical people walking down the street with no plans.”
According to the text messages shared with the Chicago Tribune, Hardiman appeared “upset” after learning that Livingston was coordinating media events without his knowledge.
“Greg Livingston is on his own when it comes to any kind of shutdown of the Kennedy Expressway headed to O’Hare. It has nothing to do with me. We are no longer affiliated with him.”
Livingston in a brief interview with the Crusader, denies the two have split and looks forward to working with Hardiman in the future.
When asked about the Tribune article, Livingston said, “I’ll say this. We had a great march last Thursday. Tio Hardiman is a great and talented person. There’s nothing about a split between us at the moment. That’s my take on it.”
According to the Tribune, Livingston, who heads the Coalition for a New Chicago, a social justice organization, said Hardiman came up with the idea of the Lake Shore Drive protest. Livingston said he came up with the idea of marching to Wrigley Field. But Hardiman disagreed, saying he did not agree with allowing protestors to be arrested and taken to jail.
“He hijacked my movement,” Hardiman told the Tribune about the Lake Shore Drive march. “Everybody out there knew that was my idea – except for him.”
Livingston did not confirm or deny the veracity of the Tribune article when asked by the Crusader.
Hardiman said the Violence Interrupters will announce later this week their next plan of action for encouraging all of Chicago to address the escalating violence in the city.