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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:03pm
Wed Sep 24, 2014

Chicago Coalition To Revitalize Dyett High School Stages Sit-In At Mayor’s Office (VIDEO) (UPDATED)

More than 50 Chicago education activists escalated their fight late Tuesday afternoon to save Bronzeville’s Walter H. Dyett High School from closing at the end of this academic year.

Protesters chained themselves together and staged a sit-in outside of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office on the fifth floor of City Hall to demand equity for the 13 remaining seniors at Dyett.

The Chicago Board of Education voted to phase out Dyett in 2012 due to poor academic performance, and the school is slated to close completely in 2015 after its last senior class graduates.

The activists with the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School, a group spearheaded by the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), also urged the Emanuel administration to endorse their community-driven blueprint to keep Dyett open beyond 2015 and offer global leadership and green technology classes at the school, along with other programs involving agricultural sciences and cultural awareness. Community members have been developing the education plan for several years and formally presented it to the school district at the Chicago Board of Education’s monthly meeting in April.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
7:28pm
Thu Sep 18, 2014

Chicago Activists Press Alds. Cappleman, O’Connor To Support $15 Minimum Wage (VIDEO)

While working roughly 60 hours a week at two jobs, Ovadhwah McGee says he lives paycheck to paycheck and struggles to pay his bills each month.

McGee, a single father living in the South Side Woodlawn neighborhood with his 13-year-old son, said he works as an in-home care worker and a certified nursing assistant, making an hourly wage of $12.35 and $13.50, respectively.

“I need to be able to put food on my table without having to go to food pantries. I need to be able to work one job so I can actually spend time with my son,” he said, adding that he can’t afford to get his car fixed and thus spends two hours on public transit every day to get to and from work.

“I’m here fighting for a $15 minimum wage in the city of Chicago because I need it, because my son needs it and because working families across the city need it,” McGee said.

McGee and roughly two-dozen protesters, members of the Raise Chicago coalition, rallied to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour Thursday morning. The ralliers called on two Chicago aldermen — Alds. Patrick O’Connor (40th) and James Cappleman (46th) — to support their cause by protesting outside of their offices. The activists also demonstrated outside of a North Side McDonald’s restaurant.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:55pm
Mon Aug 18, 2014

CPS Students Call For An Elected School Board, Adequate School Funding (VIDEO)

About 100 members of the Chicago Students Union and their allies marched in support of an elected school board and adequate neighborhood school funding during a downtown protest Monday afternoon. Progress Illinois was there for the demonstration.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:36pm
Thu Aug 7, 2014

Chicago Activists Call On Ald. Burns To Support A $15 Minimum Wage (VIDEO)

Community activists protested outside Ald. Will Burns’ (4th) office Thursday morning, calling on the South Side alderman to support a $15 minimum wage in Chicago.

“We are tired of politicians, like Will Burns, ignoring the voice of the people,” said Adeline Bracey, a member of Action Now.

Bracey was one of roughly 50 protesters to march outside Burns’ Bronzeville neighborhood office, at 435 E. 35th St., chanting, “What do we want? $15! When do we want it? Now!” The state of Illinois’ minimum wage is $8.25, while the federal minimum is $7.25.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:33pm
Thu Jul 31, 2014

Chicago Fast Food Workers Celebrate NLRB’s McDonald’s Ruling (VIDEO)

Chanting “Who’s the boss? McDonald’s!,” a group of fast food workers rallied in Chicago on Thursday in response to this week’s decision by the National Labor Relations Board’s top lawyer, who found that McDonald’s could be held liable as an employer in unfair labor practice complaints filed against their franchisees.

The decision issued Tuesday by the NLRB general counsel came in response to unfair labor practice charges brought against McDonald’s and its franchised restaurants in a number of cities, including Chicago, since November of 2012, when fast food workers in New York participated in the first strike against the fast food industry. Among other allegations, the complainants say McDonald’s retaliated against workers for organizing.

Though the ruling is preliminary, McDonald’s employee Nancy Salgado, who works in the city’s Logan Square neighborhood, said fast food workers — who are fighting for $15 an hour and a union — are ecstatic about the decision. 

“All along, we know that corporate is the one in charge of McDonald’s [franchised stores], in charge of the workers,” Salgado said at Thursday’s rally, held outside of the Rock N Roll McDonald’s at 600 N. Clark St. “They’re always trying to hide from us and say, ‘We have nothing to do with (labor practices at the franchises) … The owner deals with you.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
1:37pm
Fri Jul 25, 2014

Immigrant Rights Advocates To Obama: ‘Stop Deportations Now’ (VIDEO)

Roughly 100 immigrant rights advocates hosted a candlelight vigil Thursday evening near President Barack Obama’s Kenwood neighborhood home, urging the president to take strong and swift administrative action on deportations. 

“The president has said that he will take administrative action to address the immigration crisis, but months after he’s ordered a review of deportations, he has yet to act,” said Lawrence Benito, CEO of the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

Deportations have reached record highs during Obama’s tenure as president, and Thursday’s protesters marched around his Chicago neighborhood while praying for an overhaul of the nation’s broken immigration system — and a halt to deportations.

“We join families who bear the brunt of this crisis to call on the president to act boldly and swiftly to fight for families,” Benito said.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:07pm
Wed Jul 16, 2014

Consumers Target Walgreens Over ‘Toxic Products’; Public Pressure Grows Over Antibiotics Use In Livestock (VIDEO)

A small group of health advocates, dog owners and Walgreens customers in Chicago called on the nation’s largest pharmacy chain to remove products that, they say, contain harmful chemicals from its shelves.

“Many major retailers in the Chicago area such as Target, Bed Bath & (Beyond), even Walmart have taken direct action to begin to remove some of the worst toxic chemicals from their products, and unfortunately, Walgreens, the flagship of Illinois, has refused to make a commitment to take action on these products,” said Lynda DeLaforgue, co-director of Citizen Action/Illinois, which organized the Wednesday morning protest outside of the new Walgreens store at 410 N. Michigan Ave. in the Wrigley Building.

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