A screenshot of the home page on New Era Chicago’s website. The group ‘invaded’ Maywood on Aug. 13 in homage to Fred Hampton. | Below, a screenshot of drone video captured of the Aug. 13 demonstration, during which the group marched on Madison.
Sunday, August 28, 2016 || By Micael Romain
They call themselves New Era Chicago, which, according to the group’s website, is actually a chapter of New Era Detroit, a black social organization established in 2014.
They aren’t the Black Panthers or the New Black Panther Party or the Black Panther Party Cubs, but they have an affinity with those groups’ message of black economic empowerment and self-reliance.
New Era, the group points out on its website, plans on using resources, money and power “to take back our communities and start up a solely black-owned community. We’re aiming to create Black owned and operated schools, banks, grocery stores, hospitals, law offices, recreation centers, and more! [sic]”
They’re also huge admirers of Maywood native and Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton, who was assassinated by Chicago police inside of his West Side apartment in 1969.
Based on video and information provided on the group’s website, it appears that New Era members came to Maywood on Aug. 13 for a ‘Hood to Hood’ event.
The video shows them outside of Irving Middle School, 805 S. 17th Ave., marching down Madison and various side streets (some people, equipped with trash bags, are seen picking up litter) and crowded around Fred Hampton’s bust outside of the Fred Hampton Aquatic Center located on 300 Fred Hampton Way.
It all serves as a reminder that Hampton has made Maywood a kind of mecca for some people.
After the demonstration, the group converged on the seafood restaurant Surf’s Up, 713 W. Roosevelt Rd., for what it calls a Money Mob, “where a group of us rush and patronize a Black-owned business with our money, recognition, and support! [sic]”
The display, in its entirety, makes for some pretty stunning visuals. There are several well-produced videos on New Era’s Facebook page that document their Aug. 13 sojourn — replete with drone shots over Madison St. and Maywood Veteran’s Memorial Park, among other local sites, and a voice-over by Hampton himself as the imagery’s soundtrack.
Whatever you think of the group’s message or philosophy, the imagery they’ve provided should make any Maywood resident pretty proud of his or her hometown.
Check out the video titled, in part, “#NewEraChicago pays homage to the ancestor Fred Hampton …” And zone in on the drone shot over the park, the police station, the aquatic center and the library at around the 3:00 mark. Maywood’s never looked so green.
Click here to access the videos on New Era’s Facebook page. VFP
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