Malcolm London: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
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Malcolm London: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Malcolm London, Malcom London arrested

Malcolm London. (Ryan Lowry)

A poet and leading activist was arrested Tuesday night during protests over the death of Laquan McDonald in Chicago.

Malcolm London, 22, a Chicago native, was charged with aggravated battery to a police officer, the Chicago Tribune reports. Police claimed London punched a police officer, according to the Tribune.

But after an outcry from fellow activists, who said London did not hit an officer and was standing peacefully when he was targeted by police and arrested, the charges against London were dismissed Wednesday afternoon.

#FreeMalcolmLondon was trending for most of the day Wednesday as protesters rallied to his defense.

Four others were arrested during the protests, which came after the arrest of Officer Jason Van Dyke and the release of a dash cam video showing the officer shooting the 17-year-old McDonald 16 times in October 2014, but London faced the most serious charges.

London is one of the leaders of the Black Youth Project 100, and helped organize the protests.

Here’s what you need to know about London:


1. He & Other Young Chicago Leaders Refused to Meet With the City’s Mayor Hours Before His Arrest

While many older community activists met with Mayor Rahm Emanuel to talk about the video and the reaction to it on Tuesday, before it was released, London and other young activists declined to sit down with him.

“What I’m consistently concerned about, from governments, from media, from most people, is that when moments like these arise, we are more concerned about the reaction to the violence, then the violence itself,” London told Fox 32 Chicago on Tuesday. “We’re talking about calling for peace in a time that’s not peaceful. If you look at last night, there were peaceful protesters in Minneapolis who were shot. So often, people are paying more attention to the property in the city.”

“This isn’t about a political opportunity,” London continued. “This is about people’s lives. I’d rather have a mayor that would outright speak about this and not use it as a political opportunity.”

London also said, “I want to keep everybody safe, but right now the people who look like me, they’re not safe.”


2. He Brought the Issue of Chicago Police Violence to the UN as Part of the ‘We Charge Genocide’ Delegation

Last November, London went to United Nations along with a delegation of seven other youth leaders to make a presentation on police violence, charging the Chicago Police with genocide.

“The UN has already condemned the U.S. as being a hotbed of police violence in past reviews. We Charge Genocide will present a report to the UN Committee Against Torture stating that police in Chicago aren’t just harassing and brutalizing youth of color — their actions legitimately qualify as torture,” Monica Trinidad, a We Charge Genocide organizer, said in a press release. “By verbalizing and presenting the bold testimonies and horrific experiences young people face at the hands of the Chicago Police Department, we hope to persuade the UN to classify Chicago police violence as torture and to take actions to help end this brutal and destructive treatment.”

Cornel West has called London the “Gil-Scott Heron of his generation,” comparing him to the spoken word poet from the 1970s and 1980s, who was also from Chicago.

London began his rise to prominence in 2011 when he won the “Louder Than a Bomb” youth poetry slam in Chicago. He has since performed around the country, and has been featured on CBS, NPR, the Huffington Post and The Root.

“Malcolm London is that rare and important breed of poet-activist who can engage in a civic conversation via his art,” said Kevin Coval, of Young Chicago Authors.

“When I was younger I tried to be a rapper,” London told the Chicago Tribune in 2012. “I carried around a notebook to write things down, things I saw, things I felt,” he says. “I wrote what I would call my first poem when I was 12. It was called ‘The Last of My Tears,’ and I honestly can’t remember a word of it.”


3. He Gave a Ted Talk in 2013 About His Time as a Chicago High Schooler

London gave a Ted Talk in 2013 about his time as a high school student in Chicago, which you can watch above.

He graduated from Lincoln Park High School in Chicago in 2011.

“There are a lot of kids like me in places like this, places kind of pushed into the shadows by the people who run this city,” he told the Chicago Tribune in 2012. “We have stories to tell, stories not told in the news and media. I am getting the chance to tell mine, and others can too.”


4. He is a Student at the University of Illinois-Chicago & a Co-Chair of BYP100’s Chicago Chapter

London is a student at the University of Illinois-Chicago and is the co-chair of the Chicago chapter of Black Youth Project 100.

According to the bio on his website, he is involved in several projects:

Deeply interested in working on ways to improve the national education system, London regularly visits high schools, youth jails, colleges & communities to work with students on writing workshops and performances. London is currently devoted to being a youth advocate & coordinator of The Know Your Rights Project out of Northwestern Law School, a project dedicated to educating young people on their rights within the juvenile justice system, & continuing his work as teaching artist on staff at Young Chicago Authors, a program working to transform the lives of young people by cultivating their voices through writing, publication and performance education.


5. Fellow Activists Used Social Media to Call for London’s Release

The hashtag #FreeMalcolmLondon has been trending on Twitter around the United States for several hours. Prominent activists and others called for London’s release and that the charges against him be dropped.

City Alderman Roderick Sawyer is among those speaking out about the arrest:

Thousands of others have also tweeted about London:

https://twitter.com/FMSupreme/status/669524463059251200

Supporters gathered at the courthouse for his bond appearance on Wednesday, before the charges were dropped.

22 Comments

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22 Comments

Fyouto

Just wondering, with all of that education, how much money does a poet like Malcohm London make as a career poet? I’II bet black America is lining up right this moment awaiting the anouncement of his first poetic recital, so they can be sure to get tickets! But first, he has three more Chicago cops to assault!

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Fyouto

9yr old Tyshawn Lees murder is solved by the Chicago Police! Big surprise, a gang member is arrested! White protesters and a handful of black ones block stores on Chicagos Mag Mile not allowing Shoppers to enter stores to shop. Protest is organized by the “honorable”Jesse Jackson Sr.As people may recall, his congressman son just got paroled from prison for stealing $750.000.00. Jesse jrs wife who was a Chicago Alderman just went to prison for ripping off who else? The taxpaxers of Chicago! Jesse Sr. has never worked a day in his life. Where does he get his money? Nobody knows. So it’s fitting he should lead the protest in memory of a criminal like LaQuan MacDonald. Other notables in the protest, Congressman Danny Davis who spent his entire political career licking clout heavy white politicians asses for his own political gain. And another wonderful person pretending to be black is Michael “the faggot”Pfleger. He’s suppose to be a Catholic priest. The long standing belief is that he and Jesse Sr. got that reverend moniker from the back of a comic book! So the protesters are in good hands!
There were no protesters in court today seeking justice for 9yr.old Tyshawn Lees executioner, a black gangbanger whose last name is Morgan. If Morgan was white, Chicago would be burning right now!

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Fyouto

The animals are tearing the lights off the Christmas tree in down town Chicago! I hope the police don’t arrest them. They’re just distraught over the death of LaQuad. Besides if they were arrested, some chicken shit judge will just cut them loose in the morning, like they did Malcohm London the poet after he assaulted a police officer.

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Anonymous

Let the blacks riot….show your kids how blacks act so they can learn the truth about the rap culture of rape, murder, and animal cruelty!

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David in Chicago

Holy christ on a crutch! I can’t believe the overt racism on this comment thread! White hegemony is going to end during this century, folks. Don’t be such sore losers about it, k?

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Anonymous

Racism is not illegal or immoral….it has been the code to survival for hundreds of thousands of years. If you are white, look in the mirror and you will see the product on many generations of racism to be proud of.

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Fyouto

David, are you trying to say that negroes are going to be the dominant race in this century? I’d rather see Isis as the dominant culture first.

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Fyouto

Next time you professional activists need the police, call Malcohm London! The porch monkeys that marched in Chicago on Tuesday and chanted fuck the police show just how ignorant you niggers are. You and your blm monkeys are the reason white America hates you and your people. Your people worship shitheads like Michael Brown, that fatfuck Garner,and now LaQuan MacDonald. All these shitbums are criminals! Who are you going to whorship next? The three shines that killed Amanda Blackburn? You have Rosa Parks! The reason she didn’t give up her seat on the bus to a white man was that she was too fucking lazy to stand! Just like the typical nigger! Maybe white people should start marching in your ghetto neighborhood and chant fuck the niggers! Find some role models who don’t have criminal records. There aren’t any!

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Anonymous

I feel terrible for you. What a burden it must be to carry that heavy rock in your skull.

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Fyouto

Thank you for the compliment Anonymous! I’m trying to figure out if you are pro-police and object to radical activists and white thrash chanting fuck the police or are you a misguided liberal who doesn’t like donut eating fat mall cops? Don’t feel terrible for me. I’m a former cop who spent my entire career in those ghettos of Chicago trying to get the drugs and gangs off the streets. It’s a losing battle!

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Anonymous

The shooter cop probably has PTSD from all the black gang violence he sees every day. Policing wasn’t meant to be continuous warfare from trying to separate and arrest the continuous stream of black criminals circulating between the prisons and the gang drug trade. I would let this cop walk free if he agrees to have some therapy. You can’t convict an innocent cop with PTSD who is hired to protect the whites from the black criminals.

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Anonymous

With that logic then everyone living in those gang infested neighborhoods should be considered PTSD survivors… not the cops.

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Anonymous

I love how people like you never put your name on statements like especially since you have no clue about either side of the situation. Or are a donut-eating, slob mall cop yourself.

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Anonymous

He doesn’t put his name because you minorities get special rights if you go after him you’ll just get a free pass .

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Anonymous

Laquan McDonald wasn’t attacking whites or anyone else. Did you even watch the video? Guess not.

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Anonymous

Yes he was….the car owner was holding him till the cops arrived, but he pulled a knife and escaped….he was running crazy!

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Anonymous

he contributes nothing….let the black crackheads walk Chicago streets and confront cops with knives and guns…stop enforcing the laws in south Chicago….those neighborhoods will beg for police to stop and frisk the thugs after a night of murder, rape, and arson.

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