For about an hour in late July, shoppers, pedestrians and tourists all stopped and shifted their attention to the mob of nearly 100 protesters swarming down Michigan Avenue with their posters, flags, and chants marking SlutWalk Chicago, a protest aimed at fighting rape culture and police brutality.
This year's event also included significant support for sex worker tights and anti-discrimination efforts.
SlutWalk, a world-wide event, began in response to a situation in which a Toronto police officer made victim-blaming comments about sexual assault survivors in 2011. Chicago's SlutWalk events began soon after.
"Here at SlutWalk Chicago, we talk about everything that society tells us not to talk about, but getting together to end rape culture and demand more rights is something we must do to begin to see change," said Red, a queer non-binary femme and organizer who works with Support Ho( s )e, an activism and advocacy group for sex workers.
The march was peaceful; several dozen of police officers surrounded the protesters for the entire time on bikes and Segways, and on foot.
Organizers and participants also marched in support of freeing Lee Dewey, a non-binary person, and four other people who were arrested at SlutWalk Chicago last year for allegedly biting an officer. Accounts of the scene last year, as well as Dewey's lawyers' commentary, included that police were aggressive during the arrest last year.
"Police judge appearance too much and make broad assumptions," Paige Gilmore, a SlutWalk Chicago participant, said.