By: Zack Peercy
CHICAGO, IL—On N Western Avenue today near Welles Park in the Lincoln Square area of Northern Chicago, three brave friends, deep in positive discussion of recent Hollywood blockbuster Venom, refused to break formation for a fellow pedestrian coming in the opposite direction. The unknown intruder was forced off the sidewalk and into the busy street to get around the group.
Not since Rosa Parks’s iconic refusal to give up her seat has such a powerful statement of human rights been made. The three men, Matt C., Jordan, and Matt F., were happy with, but not surprised by, their historic triumph today.
“What was I supposed to do? Fall behind in order to make room for someone to pass?” asks Matt C., who was on the curbside of the spread out trio. He also refuted accusations of just moving a little closer to his friends, saying that it would “make him look gay or something”.
In various statements across social media, all three boys brought up past instances of not getting out of the way of a passerby, leading to a national viral campaign where men and women, but mostly men, are sharing their #DontBreakStride stories. A GoFundMe has been created to raise money for a statue of the trio to go right in the middle of the sidewalk where they refused to allow anyone else to dictate their actions. So far, $45,000 has been donated.
The events of today will have a lasting impact on walking groups of two, three, even four people all unwilling to budge for those ignorant enough to also be walking on the sidewalk, but in the opposite direction. This will open the door for moms in crowded stores with double wide strollers, bike riders on the sidewalk, people who are texting while slowly walking down the stairs at train stations, and old guys who tell you when the next bus is coming even though you didn’t ask or make eye contact and have your headphones in.