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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
10:27pm
Thu Sep 5, 2013

Walmart Workers Rally In Chicago For Better Jobs, Higher Wages (VIDEO)

More than 100 Chicago Walmart workers and their supporters rallied outside the retail giant's West Loop location Thursday afternoon, calling on the company to boost wages and reinstate illegally fired and disciplined workers. Progress Illinois was there for the demonstration.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
7:28pm
Thu Aug 29, 2013

Chicago Fast Food, Retail Workers Join National Strike For Higher Wages (VIDEO)

Hundreds of Chicago fast food and retail workers walked off the job Thursday to take part in a national, one-day strike for higher wages and the right to form a union without retaliation. Progress Illinois was there for the morning and afternoon actions.

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
5:43pm
Wed Aug 28, 2013

CPS Boycott: Hundreds Of Parents & Students Protest 'Insulting' Budget Cuts (VIDEO)

While the Chicago Board of Education was voting to approve an overwhelmingly reduced budget for the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) on Wednesday, roughly 500 protesters descended upon City Hall to demand Mayor Rahm Emanuel bring in an elected school board and “answer to the people whose lives he is turning upside down.” Progress Illinois was there for the action.

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
7:49pm
Fri Aug 23, 2013

Chicago Freedom Riders To Demand Jobs & Justice At Washington’s ‘Realize The Dream’ Rally

The more than 150 activists and Chicago public service workers who are set to take part in Saturday’s “Realize the Dream March And Rally” to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington say their message will be the same as the thousands of people who rallied at the nation’s capital in 1963: jobs and justice.

“Fifty years ago it was unimaginable that the United States could have an African- American president. Today that unimaginable thought is a reality,” said Tonya Pugh-Rizer, an SEIU* Healthcare Illinois and Indiana member who boarded a bus to Washington Friday evening with other workers and activists, who are calling themselves the "Chicago Labor Freedom Riders." 

“But even with an African-American president who has worked hard to address issues that impact working people, we are still marching for jobs and justice,” she said.

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 Ellyn Fortino
12:39pm
Thu Aug 22, 2013

Rogers Park Residents Set To Be Evicted Call On Ald. Moore For Help (VIDEO)

Affordable housing activists and tenants of the Astor House on Pratt Boulevard held a prayer vigil and protest outside Ald. Joe Moore’s (49th) office in Rogers Park Wednesday evening.

The approximately 30 protestors called on Moore to “stand for affordable housing” and help convene a meeting between the Astor House’s low-income tenants and the building’s new owner, BJB Properties, which took over the property in October.

The activists say the Astor House, 1246 W. Pratt Blvd., is one of the only remaining affordable housing buildings left in Rogers Park, and BJB is attempting to evict some of the lower-income residents so the property can be rehabbed and marketed to Loyola University students at higher rents. A handful of the building’s tenants are set to be evicted in the next two weeks, the protestors said.

“Many of these families have nowhere to go but the street,” said the Rev. Kenneth Wesbrooks of a Work of Faith Ministries in Rogers Park. “They wont be in shelters. They wont be in SROs. They will be on the street.” 

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.”

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