Hardiman breaks ties with organizers of anti-violence protests
Organizers of the Successful Lake Shore Drive Demonstration Sever Ties. Activist Tio Hardiman No Longer Sees Eye to Eye with Pastor Greg Livingston About Getting All of Chicago To Feel the Pain of Chicago’s Surging Violence
Tio Hardiman, the executive director of the Violence Interrupters and one of the organizers of the successful demonstration that shut down Lake Shore Drive on the city’s North Side last Thursday, announced today that he is no longer associated with Rev. Gregory Livingston, co-organizer of the march.
Hardiman, a two- time candidate for Governor in Illinois, said he does not agree with Livingston’s new plan to shut down the Kennedy Expressway headed to O’Hare International Airport. He said more than 90 percent of the demonstrators feel the same way, because they were galvanized by him.
“The Lake Shore Drive shutdown was a great success, and no one got arrested, and there was no violence, because of the leadership of Tio Hardiman, and Tio Hardiman has no intentions of disrupting travel during the Labor Day weekend on the Kennedy Expressway,” Hardiman said.
Hardiman said he and Livingston, a West Side pastor and activist who heads the Coalition for a New Chicago, decided to collaborate after a recent press conference where attendees called for the ouster of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Eddie Johnson, Superintendent of Chicago Police Department. At that time, Hardiman said Livingston shared his vision for how to get the mayor, police superintendent and all Chicagoans at the table to address the surging violence in the city.
The main strategy was to shut down Lake Shore Drive, putting pressure on the mayor and police superintendent by disrupting life – just a little – on the more affluent North Side.
But Livingston, Hardiman said, started to up the ante without getting full buy in from him and most of the demonstrators. He wanted some demonstrators to go to jail for the cause and he announced plans to shut down O’Hare field during the upcoming holiday.
“We fell out over this; he used me,” Hardiman said. “He is trying to use this as stepping stone for his own career.”
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.
“You saw the rally on Lake Shore Drive,” Hardiman said. “I did everything possible to make sure it was a peaceful demonstration, and it was my obligation as a leader to make sure we were not leading people to a dead-end or to be arrested. 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 done the street with no plans.”
Hardiman added, “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.”
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.
For additional information on Tio Hardiman or the Violence Interrupters, visit the organization’s website at www.violenceinterrupters.org. To arrange an interview with Mr. Hardiman, contact Jerry Thomas at 312-285-5166, or firstname.lastname@example.org.