First to get this out of the way -
If you would like to look at some of the demonstrators signs
If you woudl like to see two good vids of the protest
Onward and Forward
When I scoped out the area around the Palmer - I said to myself, "where in the hell are they going to put the people who are supposed to be here"? Having been at the Scottsdale protest against ALEC - there were about 200 of us - it was gonna be tight if 600 showed up in Chicago, in front of the Palmer (there were 600 at the protest in OKC in May).
Well 600 didn't show up - they are reporting 2700 - yep, two thousand seven hundred people showed up.
I got there are 10am - two hours before the union protest, cause there was suppose to be a protest at 10am - well that didn't happen. But that didn't stop me from protesting.
While I was setting my protest sign I felt a presence over me and it was three Chicago cops. Why was I there? What group was I representing? What did I plan on doing? Was I here yesterday? Where did I plan on doing it? If I entered the Palmer I would be arrested immediately.
Put my protest sign together and headed down the street. Got to the end of the street and there was another protester. Talked with him for awhile and picked a spot a couple feet away form him - just standing there with my sign.
Pretty soon - there is a body next to me. He's from "Move-on.org". Why am I there? What group am I representing? Have I been at any other ALEC protests? ... couple other questions - then he walked across the street, climbed into the Homeland Security surveillance van. He thought I was fool - I knew he was a fool after his second question.
Anyway - about that time the unions starting showing up a few here and there. And then oh, my.
They put us in a line and we marched around the block - a Chicago block - around the block.
Then they had us marching - in a loop. 1/2 of us coming and 1/2 of us going and we spread out - two lines worth - for about two city blocks.
Lots of noise - lots of fun. Dixie land band entertaining us from the musicians union.
Then they had a bunch of speakers - Jesse Jackson was there and some other people I don't know.
Lot's of people - from Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Mississippi - and those were only the ones I talked with. People using their legs, peopel using a wheelchair, people pushing their wheelchairs. Kids walking, kids in strollers, kids in wheelchairs. Lots of photo-journalists, talked with almost all of them (they liked my sign).
Lots of commitment.
Lots of great signs.
Lots of fun!
There are two OLB planned for tonight - but I'm alone in the city and won't be wandering out by my lonesome after dark. Will have to wait for someone to post them online - I think OLB are such a pretty way of protesting - so creative.
Let's hope an protest, against the extremist, pro-corporate, ultra-conservative, extremist American Legislative Exchange Council is in your future soon.
Their next meeting is the first week in December with their 40th Anniversary gala - in Washington DC - buy some longjohns and save some vacation and join others in DC.
It is a great place to be with people from the community, students, people representing religious communities, union brothers and sisters, teachers, black shirts and others.
People like you - who care about their country and are willing to take to the streets to make change happen.
I was proud to be a part of this group and look forward to the next time.