Friends and Fellow Protesters Mourn Activist Killed in Park Manor Shooting

Manny Ramos, Chicago Reader, February 10, 2016

Friends and family held a “March for Matt” and a candlelight vigil Tuesday for Matthew Williams, a 21-year-old Chicago activist who was shot and killed Friday night. Williams was playing Xbox with friends in a basement apartment in the city’s Park Manor neighborhood when a gunman fired into the window of the apartment, striking Williams in the back. His cousin cradled him in his arms until an ambulance arrived, according to several of Williams’s friends. {snip}

What happened prior to the shooting is murky, although sources close to the family say there was an altercation in the apartment prior to the shooting. Williams was not involved with the fight, they said. {snip}

Williams, a Virginia native who moved to Chicago just over a year ago, came out as a strong opponent of Mayor Rahm Emanuel following the release of the Laquan McDonald video.

Matthew Williams

Matthew Williams

“Matt always wanted to be involved with every protest,” said Ja’Mal Green, 20, a fellow activist and creator of the infamous “Rahm Failed Us” T-shirts. “He had a bubbly personality. [He] was fun, but passionate about change.”

In a series of tweets posted just a few hours before the shooting took place, Williams touched on gun violence, and how it can quickly escalate from an altercation, while also declaring his love for people on his Facebook page.

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Friends and fellow protesters described Williams as a funny, charismatic man who wanted justice served for the black community.

“[Williams] disagreed with gun violence and violence as a whole,” says Rwanda Charnelle Davis, 20, a friend from Virginia. “Which was the sad thing about his death–he died from that very thing.” She says Williams had a talent for music and had more than seven books filled with rap lyrics.

{snip}

At one of the last protest Williams attended, he wore a red “I Matter” shirt while holding a bullhorn to his mouth. “He had a lot of heart, and would never step back,” Green said. “He would let cops know things are going to stop.”

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