ELMHURST – Dozens of participants were unscathed and numerous bystanders were left feeling unsatisfied at the lack of turmoil during a rally outside of City Hall on Sunday, the first large-scale demonstration of its kind on Elmhurst soil since the failed “March for North Elmhurst Sidewalks” in 1978.
Marred by poorly-constructed signage, novice marching skills and the absence of a memorable chant, approximately 40 local members of the progressive group Action for a Better Tomorrow (ABT) were left mostly unchallenged as they paid vigil to Charlottesville, VA, victims with a peaceful gathering that was highlighted by participants waving their handmade signs and imploring drivers to honk their car horns.
“I wasn’t sure how people would react to us being here,” said organizer Lori Valentine, drinking a lukewarm root beer with an insufficient amount of ice that she purchased at Hamburger Heaven before the 5:00 p.m. start of the rally. “But people have been mostly supportive of what we are doing.”
On the heels of a smaller vigil held at the same location the night before, local ABT members covertly organized “Operation: Spontaneous Gathering” within their maximum security Facebook Group with the intent of showing that Elmhurst cares about the national tragedy that unfolded over the weekend.
“This is my first rally, and I’m a little disappointed at the lack of excitement out here,” said Elmhurst resident and rally participant Larry Sutter, holding a sign with “End Hate” scribbled below an Abt logo that is clearly a trademark infringement on the independent electronics and major appliance retailer in Glenview, Illinois. “I almost wore my Cubs helmet here tonight in case things started to get out of hand.”
While a police presence was limited to the appearance of one parking enforcement officer who drove by the scene and subsequently ticketed four vehicles in the City Hall parking lot for expired city stickers, things became tense for a short period of time when nearly all 57 residents of Elmhurst 255 Downtown Apartments wandered out of the building and walked down the street to see what was going on.
“That’s when I was hoping the action would start,” said Elmhurst Patch reporter Joe Carlton, who stated that the only other high point of the event was when he witnessed a rally participant with a damaged sign shout a profanity after walking over to West Suburban Office Products and realizing that the store was closed. “Overall, this is kind of boring. I think I’ll just run with the story about the liquor store robbery in Joliet for tomorrow’s Elmhurst edition.”
At press time, customers and employees inside of Rainbow Restaurant were seen hiding on the floor in fear after rally participants began marching over to the diner for a late meal following the conclusion of the rally.