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Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
2:15pm
Wed Aug 28, 2013

Local Residents Demand A New Community Center At Whittier Elementary (VIDEO)

A group of parents and community members are calling on Ald. Danny Solis (25th) and officials from the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district to build a new community center at Whittier Elementary School, to replace La Casita, which was demolished earlier this month.

La Casita, which served as a volunteer-run library that provided computer access, English classes and after-school programs to local residents of Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood on the Southwest Side, was torn down without notice. District officials cited safety concerns and severe disrepair to the CPS-owned fieldhouse that was being used as a community center until the moment a demolition crew arrived on August 17.

“What happened, I found to be very unjust, very traumatizing,” said Lisa Angonese, 52, executive director of La Casita and member of the Whittier Parents Committee (WPC), which ran the community center’s programming. “We saw a demolition of a precious and valuable building right before our very eyes, traumatizing to the parents, children and members of the community.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:25pm
Thu Aug 22, 2013

Chicagoans 'Out' General Electric For Dodging Taxes, Demand Sen. Durbin Close Loopholes (VIDEO)

Chicagoans from across the city rallied downtown Thursday afternoon to “out” General Electric as a corporate tax dodger and to call upon U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) to take charge and make corporations pay their fair share.

Chicago is one of 10 cities taking part in the National People's Action campaign this week meant to shine a light on various corporate tax dodgers across the county. According to the protestors, GE received $8.4 billion in federal tax breaks between 2008 and 2010.

“Everyday people are suffering while corporate taxes are at historic lows, even though corporate profits are at an all time high,” said Toby Chow, a leader with IIRON.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
1:49pm
Thu Aug 22, 2013

Education Activists Call For CPS Boycott (VIDEO)

A group of Chicago education activists are hoping thousands of students take part in an August 28 boycott of a school system, they say, is acting as a destabilizing force in low-income communities of color.

Next Wednesday, the Chicago Board of Education is scheduled to vote on a proposed budget for the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district, which has proposed some $68 million in school budget cuts. Next Wednesday is also the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous speech calling for equality for African Americans. The March on Washington was one of the largest political rallies for human rights in U.S. history.

“Part of our democracy is speaking up when you are being dealt an injustice, part of our history in this country is being able to peacefully express your frustration when policies do not treat you right,” said Jitu Brown, an education organizer for the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO). “Young people will definitely get a lesson in representative democracy on this day.”

At a press conference on Thursday outside of the mayor’s office, Brown and approximately 50 education activists announced plans for the city-wide, one-day school boycott. The group also plans to stay away from the Chicago Board of Education meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:08pm
Wed Aug 21, 2013

Roskam Gets Targeted By Activists For 'Standing In The Way' Of Immigration, Health Care Reform (VIDEO)

While U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R, IL-6) attended a town hall meeting in Naperville on Wednesday, a group of protesters, upset with the congressman’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and several immigration reform proposals, held a demonstration outside.

Roskam, the protesters allege, has not offered any concrete solutions to fix the nation’s broken immigration and health care systems, but instead has only blocked solutions based on partisanship.

“Democracy can’t survive on just standing in the way,” said John Gaudette, organizing director for Citizen Action Illinois, who helped organize the protest. “If he’s taking the opposing stance, he needs to tell us what works and come up with an alternative plan.”

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
6:34pm
Thu Aug 8, 2013

Hundreds Protest ALEC's Conservative Agenda In Chicago: 'Get Out Of Our City' (VIDEO)

Hundreds of protesters pushed back against 40 years of “greedy, right-wing billionaires imposing their will on the masses” Thursday during the second day of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) annual conference in Chicago. Progress Illinois was there for the action.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
3:38pm
Wed Aug 7, 2013

Protesters Stage 'Die-In' Against Stand Your Ground Laws Outside Of ALEC Conference (VIDEO)

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.

On 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.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
1:57pm
Tue Aug 6, 2013

ALEC's Impending Chicago Conference Incites Protest, Multiple Arrests (VIDEO)

Six people were arrested Monday when protesters descended upon the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago to push back against the impending visit of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), whose conservative agenda, activists say, promotes policies and legislation that protects corporate interests and disenfranchises workers and voters. 

ALEC is slated to hold its 40th national conference at the hotel August 7 to August 9. In anticipation of the meeting, six protesters staged a sit-in on the hotel’s lobby steps Monday, while roughly two dozen demonstrators marched outside demanding the hotel cancel its plans to host the powerful right-wing group's annual meeting.

“ALEC is one of the great nexi where money and politics meet in order to corrupt our democracy,” said Greg Goodman, protest organizer. “From attacking workers, to attacking the environment, criminalizing immigration, constructing for-profit prisons, attacking health care, promoting Stand Your Ground laws, ALEC promotes the interests of big business and the one percent.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
1:03pm
Fri Aug 2, 2013

Bakery Workers Protest Company's Alleged Union Busting, Prepare For Strike (VIDEO)

Bakery workers and their supporters protested outside of Elk Grove Village's Grecian Delight Thursday to criticize the company’s alleged attempts to dismantle the union during contract negotiations.

“They want to exploit cheap labor, they want to get rid of union security,” said Margarito Diaz, a union representative for Workers United. “Workers are ready to do whatever needs to be done to protect the issue of seniority, the issue of temporary employees and access, and union security.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
12:48pm
Fri Jul 19, 2013

Dunkin Donuts Workers Forced To Work In Almost 100-Degree Temps Walk Off The Job (VIDEO)

As a heat wave took over Chicago this week, with temperatures reaching well over 95 degrees on several occasions, workers at a downtown Dunkin’ Donuts were forced to work without air conditioning since Sunday.

On Thursday, tired of being forced to sweat it out, three workers walked out on strike, locking the doors of the 24-hour location behind them as they left. The Dunkin Donuts location, which has a broken air conditioner, was closed for eight hours.

“I couldn’t stand it anymore,” said Luis Vargas, 21, an employee of Dunkin’ Donuts for five months and one of the workers who walked out. “If we didn’t drink any liquids I’m pretty sure me and my coworkers would have passed out.”

The store’s thermostat hit 99 degrees when the workers walked off the job.

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