Environmentalists are putting pressure on Morgan Stanley to cut its financing ties to the coal industry as part of a larger disinvestment campaign aimed at big banks.
Organizers with the environmental group Rainforest Action Network (RAN) urged the investment firm to end its financing of coal mining and coal power during Friday protests held outside Morgan Stanley branches in nine major U.S. cities, including Chicago.
"Morgan Stanley is one of a few remaining large banks that is still funding dirty coal," said Chicago RAN volunteer Charlie Ryan, who distributed flyers about the anti-coal campaign outside a downtown Morgan Stanley location at 440 S. LaSalle St.
"If you look at some of the things they're doing, for example, they continue to finance mountaintop removal. Mountaintop removal is one of the worst ways to mine coal. They blow up the mountain. They don't repair it."
Education activists celebrated the 34-day Dyett hunger strike during a rally at the Thompson Center Tuesday evening and vowed to press candidates on the issue of an elected Chicago school board during the 2016 state legislative elections.
The rally, attended by approximately 150 people, comes over a week after about a dozen Chicago parents and education advocates ended their hunger strike to keep Bronzeville's Dyett High School open. Dyett closed in June after being slated for phaseout in 2012.
"I'm really proud of the Dyett hunger strikers. They stood up for what they believed in," Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza told Progress Illinois at the rally. "They won. They kept their school open."
Still, Sadlowski Garza said it was unfortunate that parents had to put their health and lives at risk to improve education in their community.
"No one should have to starve or fight for a fully-funded education, not in the world we live in now," she said. "Kids, regardless where you live or the color of your skin, everyone should get an equal education."
The local Fight for $15 movement continues to gain steam as an increasing number of Illinois low-wage workers join the call for better pay and the right to unionize without retaliation.
Initially spearheaded by fast food workers, the national Fight for $15 campaign has since picked up support from service employees from other industries. On Tuesday, the movement welcomed security officers, janitors and passenger service workers at O'Hare International Airport, who are joining the campaign due to their "poverty wages."
O'Hare workers rallied with their supporters outside the airport Tuesday morning to officially kick off their entrance into the Fight for $15 movement.
Health professionals and elected officials are expected to speak out on Monday in support of the Chicago activists who are now in the 29th day of their hunger strike over Dyett High School on the city's South Side.