Ten Thousand Protest Bank and Corporate Greed [VIDEO]
On October 10, 2011, over 10,000 people marched through the streets of downtown Chicago protesting corporations and banks that take tax breaks while cutting jobs and essentials services. The coalition of union members and community activists called “Stand Up! Chicago” organized five separate marches, each taking on the theme of “schools,” “jobs,” or “housing.”
Chicago Teachers Union members led one of the marches which started at the Chicago Board of Trade, the site of the Occupy Chicago protests. Occupy Chicago voted last week to endorse and march in solidarity with Stand Up! Chicago.
All five marches convened at the Art Institute, the site of a meeting of the American Mortgage Bankers Association. The reckless behavior of the mortgage industry, which led to the 2008 financial collapse, left Chicago with one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation. The banks were bailed out by taxpayers, but no relief was given to people whose homes were foreclosed. This prompted CTU to sponsor an ordinance in City Council that would require banks to secure vacant properties they own near schools.
In Chicago, corporate handouts often take the form of TIF financing, which takes $250 million away from schools each year. One teacher at the protest, David Hernandez of Lawndale Little Village High School explained the situation, “We have a corrupt TIF system, millions of dollars are being left in slush funds for corporations, and we’re asking today that those TIF funds be put back into schools.” CTU sponsored an ordinance that would do just that -- return TIF funds to schools.
David Robbins, a teacher at King College Prep said that the effects of the givebacks directly hurt kids, which prompted him to attend today’s rally. He said, “I came down to add my voice in asking for decent conditions for our students.”
Protestors sat down on Monroe Street outside of the bankers meeting to tell them to pay their fair share. About 20 activists, including CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey and Financial Secretary Kristine Mayle were removed by police and issued citations for blocking the entrance to the Art Institute.
Tara Stamps, who teaches at Jenner elementary, the site of CTU’s TIF rally last March summed up the day, “I am out here to stand up… it is a time for teachers and the working class to end greed in Chicago, take back our schools, and add our voice to this very critical conversation about the future of our city.”
Next Post: 2011 Legislators/Educators Appreciation Dinner (LEAD)