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Artists in Chicago Add Creativity to Protest By Bringing Music, Spoken Word to Train Passengers

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 11.24.23 AMAs people take to the streets for #BlackLivesMatter protests, several Chicago artists are taking a new approach to evoke change.

A group of over 100 artists came together recently at a downtown Chicago train station just before rush hour and boarded every Red Line train to protest in their own way, with signs, chants and even a few performances.

“Other protests have not utilized performances, but a lot of the [protesters] are creative,” Buster Fraum, a 21-year-old DePaul University student who supported the event, told “There’s power to be found in creativity in numbers.”

Spoken word artist and activist Ayinde Cartman told Huffington Post that the response to the artists varied. As to be expected, some train riders avoided participating by putting in their headphones and averting their eyes. But others joined in the chants and some inquired about how they could be a part of the movement as well.

“The intention was to disrupt, and in the most productive and constructive way possible,” Cartman told HuffPost. “We were trying to include you, rather than separate you from the movement. On the train, folks didn’t have a choice but to experience it.”

Other artists included event producer Kristen Kaza, playwright Ike Holter, musicians Rico Si and Charlie Coffeen and activist Kay Hubbard.

The demonstrations were protesting more than the recent police brutality cases. Cartman, in particular, performed pieces focusing on the lack of access to fresh and affordable food in a lot of Black communities and how that effects Black people as a whole.

“Most people are suffering and some people are not, and we can’t let that slide, like this isn’t a part of what our society is designed to be like,” Cartman said. “Our goal was to bring the things we love to the table to demand and strongly, strongly suggest a societal transformation.”

“The goal is to creatively and peacefully engage train riders who may otherwise be distracted or checked out, particularly as many move onto their holiday break,” protest organizer, Kristen Kaza, said in a release.

Organizers are planning their next event for January.

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