On the first day of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s
(ALEC) annual conference in Chicago, nearly 100 activists staged a
“die-in” at the meeting's doors to protest the powerful right-wing
policy group’s promotion of controversial Stand Your Ground gun laws.
“Stand Your Ground? I call them the ‘Shoot First Laws,’” said Carl Gibson, 26, co-founder of U.S. Uncut
and participant in Wednesday’s action. “It’s not really standing your
ground, it’s just a shoot first, ask questions later law and it enabled
George Zimmerman to get away with murdering a child.”
ALEC is hosting its 40th national conference from August 7 to August 9 at the Palmer House
Hilton in downtown Chicago and, upset with the organization’s
conservative agenda and impact on legislation, protesters kicked off a series of rallies and protests to be held throughout the week.
Wednesday, as members of ALEC filtered into the hotel and prepared for
the first day of the conference, roughly 80 protesters from a plethora
of local grassroots organizations, such as Stand Up! Chicago and Action Now, “died” outside of the hotel’s lobby.
“ALEC is here today to push Stand Your Ground laws all across our nation. Do we want that,” asked Shani Smith, 38, a project organizer with Stand Up! Chicago, who participated in Wednesday's demonstration. “We are here today to stand up to ALEC and let them know that we will no longer allow them to terrorize working families.”