CHICAGO, Illinois – For the past 37 days, parents have occupied La Casita, a fieldhouse at the Whittier Elementary school in protest over its proposed demolition and the lack of resources available to schoolchildren, including a library. Parents have transformed the space into a library by keeping the doors open to children and with the help of the community. More information at Democracy Now!
Archive for the ‘Illinois’ Category
DOZENS OF parents, children and community supporters are occupying a field house at the Whittier Dual Language School in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood to stop it from being demolished. The occupation started on September 15 and has continued for nearly a week despite several attempts by Chicago police to break up the protest.
The parents want the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system and its CEO Ron Huberman to stop plans to demolish the field house and build a soccer field–and instead agree to let parents renovate the building so it can become a library (there is no library at Whittier currently) and meeting center.
As one mother, whose children have attended Whittier for the past eight years, said: “This is not private property. This is our property–we pay taxes, we pay for this. It’s not about what they want to do with it–it’s about what we want to do with it. Imagine our kids not having a library.”
The sit-in came after a protest staged by the Whittier Parents Committee, first formed in 2003, at an appearance by Mayor Richard Daley and Alderman Danny Solis, who represents Pilsen, at the nearby Benito Juarez High School. As Lisa Angonese, a new parent at Whittier, said:
We went to the high school to talk to Daley and Solis, since Huberman has not responded to our petition with over 1,000 signatures on it for a library. We wanted them to listen us. They saw our signs, walked right past us and drove away.
We got the cold shoulder from the mayor and the alderman. It was as if we weren’t even there. I think they were afraid. Then we decided to sit in. We are working together as a community–this is what I want my children to see.”
CPS says it will spend $354,000 to demolish the field house building. Whittier parents hired their own engineer, who estimated that the building could be salvaged for a fraction of that cost. According to Gema Gaete, an activist and Pilsen resident, the call from parents is to “repolish, not demolish.”
Chicago Police have threatened and intimidated the parents, including telling them they will be charge with “abandonment” if they don’t pick up their children. Many undocumented parents had to leave the occupation for fear of retaliation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
CPS also sent a locksmith to change the locks on the field house when the parents and students were inside, and put up a sign in English and Spanish stating the building was unsafe to occupy. Protesters removed the sign.
On September 17, officers came to the building and threatened to arrest the occupiers. They left quickly when more than 100 students, parents and community members jumped the school fence, going past police to join the action.
This confrontation won a promise from Huberman that he would meet with the parents. But the parents have heard this before. “He’s said he would meet, and then he sends someone else,” said one Whittier mother. “We want to talk to him face to face. We all deserve equal opportunity. No more lies–they need to hear us.” (read more)
News & Updates from March 4
(Feel free to comment with corrections. Last update: 10:10am mar.7.10)
University of California
UC Santa Cruz
5:00am: Students out blocking streets at the intersection of High & Western, Hagar and Coolidge, and the western entrance of campus effective shutting it down. Only people on foot can enter campus.
7:00am: Some people have been hit by cars breaking the picket line, breaking someone’s leg and hitting another 3 or so people.
8:00am: Campus administrators activated the CruzAlert messaging system with the following message “Please avoid both campus entrances due to safety concerns. Check web or 459-INFO at noon for update.” (source)
9:40am: Currently a rally is being held at the main entrance (i.e. the east entrance) with 250 participants. For a while 2 helicopters were flying above. The students blocking the intersection of High and Western have left after most of the workers were blocked from entering campus (it would appear some dining hall workers were able to get on campus, but many others were unable to get on campus). Many of the workers are now here supporting the students.
Earlier this morning, multiple students were injured by two separate incidents where cars rushed the strike line (one at the intersection of Hagar and Coolidge, and the second at the intersection of High and Western). The car at Hagar and Coolidge was tailgating a police car being let through, students then approached the vehicle to stand in front of it and tell them about the strike. The car hit the gas and drove into the mass, injuring a student’s leg, fortunately not broken. In the incident at High and Western, a tan volvo began accelerating into the crowd blocking the street, despite the fact that cars driving down High (away from campus) were being slowly let through. The volvo hit around 5 students, one student flipped over the hood of the car and over the top, breaking the rear window as the student fell off the back. As the volvo sped away, students kicked the car, denting it. Several cars and motorcycles have tried to slowly push through the crowd through out the day, but all failed. Rumors of other car incidents exist, but the others have yet to be confirmed.
Also, earlier this morning a banner was hung over highway 1, stating “March 4 Defend Education!”
11:40am: While most of the protesters are at the main entrance and the west entrance, some of the protesters are at Hagar and Coolidge to watch out for supervisors forcing workers to trek up the long and steep hill to get to work. Supervisors began leading the workers up the hill past a handful of students in the intersection before the students could organize themselves. As more students came to support the other students in the intersection, they realized the workers and supervisors were already around 50 feet away up the hill to campus. So around 15 students ran up the hill to form a line to blockade the workers. The police arrived and dispersed the line, telling the students that they had made a “physical threat” on the workers. As the workers passed by, they shouted that there was no physical threat. So as the police returned to their vehicle, the students yet again ran up the hill the block the workers from getting further into campus. The police immediately turned around and approached the students to disperse them. However by now, the workers turned around and spoke to their supervisors claiming they couldn’t get through, the supervisors conceded and the workers were allowed to go home
1:00pm: Around 500 have rallied at the base of campus. Video below was taken around 12:45pm, the rally as of 1:15pm is still going.
1:55pm: Students are redistributing themselves around campus for maximum effectiveness. Around 60 people are at Hagar and Coolidge warning people that they may not be able to re-enter campus if they leave. They are also watching out for supervisors forcing workers to get onto campus still.
2:50pm: Strikers are now relaxing on the grass at the main entrance listening to a live band. The strike is mostly split up into three locations, Lower Campus (Hagar and Coolidge), Main Entrance (i.e. East Entrance), and the West Entrance.
3:20pm: Earlier story about a prius running into students and driving onto sidewalk at High and Western has been confirmed. At least one student broke some fingers when the car recklessly plowed through the crowd.
5:30pm: A general assembly starts
6:30pm: The general assembly decides to take the protest downtown.
7:11pm: 300 Students walk through Pacific Ave.
7:30pm: The students have rallied at the clock tower.
9:10pm: Students dissipate.
1:20pm: Around 1000 people walking down telegraph (currently crossed at 66 ave.) for a rally with students from community colleges, CSU’s, and elementary school folks at city hall in Oakland.
3:10pm: The march has reached Frank Ogawa plaza.
After the rally, protesters marched to highway I-880. Around 150 protesters were arrested.
7:00am: Most all of the ~40 arrested taken to North County Jail in Oakland out, charged with 2 misdemeanors and an infraction (obstructing traffic, unlawful assembly, failure to obey signs).
8:00am: Approximately 80 of the arrested at Santa Rita jail should start being released around 11am. They need rides!
More photos on indybay here.
12:50pm: Students at UC Davis have shut down the bus terminal and the main street in Davis.
1:12pm: Students march down Russell st. and are now shutting down the freeway.
3:10pm: One student has been arrested, dozens of others have been shot by rubber bullets. They are currently on the street near the offramp and have been given a deal from the police stating that they will release the student arrested if they leave the offramp now.
3:30pm: Police using pepper spray pellets!
4:00pm: Students walking back to campus.
4:30: Students march through buildings pulling fire alarms, and from there they returned to Russell and La Rue where they shut down the intersection for several hours.
1:40pm: Soft occupation at Murphy Hall
2:00pm: correction, sit-in
6:20pm: Outside supporters have been lead to believe that students sitting inside will be arrested.
6:40pm: Sit-in protesters all released.
1:50pm: Around 400 students are walking around campus urging others to join them in striking. According to OC Weekly, numbers increased to 800. One of the largest protests in recent campus history.
2:00pm: Students take to the streets and head towards freeway 73. Students clear one police line and continue down University Avenue.
2:34pm: Students moving back to campus after being stopped by police again. Police: “Immediately return to campus!”
2:50pm: Students gathering at Langson Library.
2:55pm: UC Irvine temporarily occupied with barricades at Langson Library. Students move to Gateway Study Center and lock down several doors before clearing out.
3:30pm: Students were unable to hold down the occupations, so they are now out and marching again.
3:45pm: Aldrich Hall, the admin building, was locked down with 15-20 police inside, so students held an impromptu general assembly in front of Aldrich.
UC San Diego
4:00pm: According to one source, 2000-3000 people, another source 1500-2000, (mostly students, with some teachers and parents) marched from Balboa park to the Governor’s Office downtown.
3:21pm: According to Daily Cal, somewhere near a 1000 students marching downtown.
UC Santa Barbara
According to one commenter:
12:00 noon rally at UCSB Arbor plaza draws 1000+ students, workers, teachers, biggest rally in UCSB’s recent history
1:30 PM – Rally heads downtown, most people use free bus service while about 50 take part in a Critical Mass ride downtown
3:40 PM – UCSB students, students and teachers from other schools gather at De La Guerra Plaza downtown, ~500 people take State St. for an unpermitted march down State.
4:00 PM – March has turned around and marches back up State, grows to ~1000 as it passes De La Guerra Plaza again. State St. is totally clogged with a massive march.
4:30 PM – Marchers arrive at the courthouse for a rally, with speakers including students, faculty and local politicians. Crowd disperses following the rally.
(special thanks to coyote)
California State University
San Francisco State University
They held a rally that ended at 2pm with 500 people. The rally later turned into a dance party. Another party is going to be held Thursday night at 10pm at Malcolm X plaza.
San Francisco (General)
According to Socialist Worker, [20,000+] people are protesting at the civic center.
DailyCal says that a Rally with thousands come out for a “funeral service”. While Socialist Worker is stating that nearly 6000 come out for a protest in Northridge resulting in at least one injury and several arrests. Protesters are apparently waiting outside the jail.
According to one commenter:
A few of us started organizing for the day around 10AM; making posters, mostly.
Around 11:30AM, we ran screaming for a walk-out with noisemakers/pots/bullhorns throughout various campus buildings. A lot of people joined us and we marched to a nearby busy intersection (Nordhoff/Reseda). There was an invasion through the library and some more buildings with a long line of people calling for a walk-out.
We met back at the busy intersection and invaded the center…police came soon and cleared up the streets. A few people refused to move. A couple local news stations came to report, and the occupation of the middle of the street continued.
Around 2:30PM, we went back to campus and gathered a huge crowd on the Oviatt Library quad.
At 3:45PM, we began the march with CSU Channel Islands students/faculty. We all took to the streets and marched around campus.
By 6:30PM, enough of us had begun an occupation of yet another intersection (Reseda/Prairie). This was when police threatened to arrest due to “unlawful assembly in the streets” and “trespassing.” A little while later, they began to threaten tear gas. Two people got arrested so far.
By 7:30PM, five people had been arrested and one of our professors, 74-yr old Dr. Olsen, was knocked down and her arm stepped on by the police. She’s currently at the hospital.
By 8:00PM, we invaded the space outside the library and talked to the media, reorganized, and planned for a press conference March 5th (today). Word started to go around that the students who got arrested were getting booked/released.
Summary ? Huge misrepresentation by the media. Police not the nicest of nice. Lots of people from the surrounding community made this CSUN protest big. Anger at our president for misrepresenting what happened last night through her statement. Good energy going around those who were part of the event; plans of having CSUN fund buses for the March 22nd rally at Sacramento.
(special thanks to Billimarie)
CSU Los Angeles
According to the blog EastsideLA, a March 4 rally started at CSULA which later traveled through parts of Los Angeles, through areas like Little Tokyo. Sometimes the marchers were on streets, other times they were corralled by police to stick to the sidewalks. EastsideLA remarked how controlled the march felt, from both police and some organizers. They also commented how elements of the march were joyous and fun as such a protest should be. Crowd estimates appeared to be a little over a thousand.
Los Angeles (general): Socialist Worker says 4000 rally in downtown.
At noon several fire alarms were pulled and hundreds of people poured in to Humanities Plaza for a rally and march through the campus.
CSU Monterey Bay
Around noon, students, staff and faculty participated in a walkout and marched from either end of campus to a rally in front of the Student Center. A few hundred people attended the rally. Some student bands played throughout the day while students danced to the music. Student, staff, and faculty members spoke about cuts to public education and related issues, from spending money on wars and prisons to the systemic injustice that prevents so many people from attaining higher education.
In the evening, some of the protesters from campus went to a community rally at Colton Hall (the sight of the first public school in California) in downtown Monterey. They joined people from local community colleges, K-12 schools, and members of various labor unions.
video here at indybay
4:32pm: According to DailyCal, an occupation of administration’s offices with 30-40 people.
5:17pm: They say 32 occupiers still holding it down.
10:30pm: Occupation ends. Occupiers leave without being arrested. see indybay.
Watch a video of an interview inside the Joyal Administration occupation.
California Community College
Cañada College (Redwood City, CA)
Skyline College (San Bruno, CA)
500 march through campus and almost every building, then hold a rally. Carloads of Skyline College stakeholders join those at SF civic center.
City College of San Francisco
An original rap at CCSF.
We got all these corporations erasing education
standarized testing placement exam evaporation
this is no exaggeration; let’s get rid of this abberation!
Student Occupation- it’s now ours for the taking
what should have been all along, this is democracy in the making
not a fire evacuation or a sly accusation
THIS IS NOT A DRILL, now you know were not faking
aint gonna hide under desks of leave the classrooms vacant
just teach-ins reclaiming the history you were debasing
free food with Food Not Bombs special catering baking
Love and knowledge; it’s a collage at City College
all the cultures reconnecting and solving the problems from the bottom
[i]Put your hands in the air if you want books not war
Democracy (what?),Tthat’s what the people is for!
Put your hands in the air if you want books not war
Democracy (what?), That’s what the people is for![/i]
Grass Roots, we’ve all got em- in the soles of our feet
and the souls that is a part of every energy being
every day they working hard to try to tear up your dreams
racism on the radios and consumerist bling
but now it’s time to shine and let freedom sing
The future is now; we’re the ones here to claim
The Rosenberg Library? I say it’s time to rename it-
repaint it like all the murals that made the Mission famous
aint gonna let a business suit calm us down or try to tame us
we’re WILD and free; we love it can you blame us?
Sorry Swarzinagger but we broke out of the cages
with solidarity K through 12 and all ages
[i]Put your hands in the air if you want books not war
Democracy (what?),Tthat’s what the people is for!
Put your hands in the air if you want books not war
Democracy (what?), That’s what the people is for![/i]
Textbooks is now free; take copyrights off of pages
Don’t need leaders or sages to mold our consent
when our rights is threatened it’s our time to dissent
throw up your middle finger to this one-party government
I didn’t vote for this war; I say you bring back our men
That’s my word and it’s as sure as the ink in this pen
that causes hysterics with these lyrics to throw me back in the pen
but I’ll do it again; a no compromise kinda guy
we comprised a bee storm after you swapping us like flies
like a video game set to unlimited lives
the people never give up and they infinite as the skies
We took off your disguise and blocked your deflectors
The board of directors is just a horde of rejectors
aint gonna listen to us until we unite as protectors
Call out to all sectors; we’re here and we’re permanent
The powers that be; you better be learning from it
We’re sick of your greed and sick of your rules
you wanna gut education well…
you about to get schooled!
check out more photos and information from Cabrillo Solidarity
Around 200 protest, more from indybay.
400 rally in busiest intersection
Out of State
SUNY – State University of New York
3:00pm: SUNY purchase occupied (see website)
Solidarity to all students, workers and faculty!
We ‘ve taken over the Student Services Building. We started on the bottom level, turning a meager rally into a protest-party on the inside.Students are chanting, singing, dancing. The energy moved upstairs to the second floor where a folk group is performing right now. Downstairs another band is about to play. We are holding space and reclaiming it as ours. We will not leave!
The local media showed up for the rally outside but left before we went inward. Channel 12 and other local media sources watched as the president of our school spoke. Students were the real stars, the expression of solidarity was fantastic. Food not bombs came out to feed everyone that was hungry, we screened the occupation of wheeler hall so passerbys could connect with the struggles in the west. Students are making noise!!!!, and celebrated our ability to come together. It’s more than just tuition hikes and budget cuts,
WE are not leaving! This IS just the beginning!
Slideshow & Audio from SUNY Purchase occupation.
CUNY – Brooklyn College
Hundreds participated in a successful teach
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
a big protest (~250), major police repression. 18 students arrested for trying to peacefully visit their chancellor!
Info and videos here: http://sdsmke.com/
University of Oklahoma
Warren Wilson College
University of Illinois, Chicago
250 protest, joined by SEIU Local 73
University of Massachusetts
CHICAGO, Illinois – a message from our friends in Chicago:
The Lowercase Collective has existed for over three years now. It has been
a public squat for two years, and opened its doors to countless people,
projects, and events. One would be hard pressed to find an anarchist who
has travelled through Chicago without ever spending time in this space.
When a place becomes so integral to the collective ethos of a community,
as Lowercase has in Chicago, its destruction can be simply debilitating.
On December 18th, we received an eviction notice for our landlord, who is
in all likelihood a fictitious entity. Shortly thereafter, we proved to
the state that we ourselves have been responsible for paying the bills for
the past years, making repairs, etc. Unfortunately, our attempts were only
able to buy us a few more weeks, as the eviction notice for all occupants
came like a cold wind. Despite the machinations of the Federal National
Mortgage Association, or any other partial owners, we have no intention of
leaving this space without a fight.
Social tension has been percolating throughout our neighborhood for some
time now. There is a general hatred of the police, all the more so with
the existence of gangs on our street. Within a two-block radius, three
other families have already been evicted in the past few months. A month
ago, a black man just riding his bicycle was knocked off it by the police,
beat up, and left without his bike in front of the watching eyes of the
neighborhood. With all of this occurring in the context of our neighbors
reproducing capital and themselves on the daily, this situation could
prove explosive, as we look to push those tensions to the breaking point.
As the legal situation surrounding the house crystallizes, we will be
announcing the time in which we want to invite our friends, in Chicago,
the Midwest, and elsewhere, to join us for the most crucial aspect of
solidarity: collective action on the day of eviction. We hope to create
something truly wild around the very place we eat, sleep, fuck, dream, and
share ourselves with each other. We hope for solidarity actions from
friends who can’t make it here, but are more hopeful to see your faces.
Defending space in which we live, share, and combat capital is integral to
revolutionary movements. Our past has connected us to so many different
trajectories, and in the near future, perhaps together through our actions
we can give ourselves the time and space to create so many more.
contact them at lowercasecollective (at) riseup (dot) net
CHICAGO, IL – The lowercase collective, squatting in a building in Chicago, is in danger of eviction.
from their facebook page:
The lowercase collective is a collectively run urban homestead located on the western edge of Logan Square. For the past two and a half years, it has hosted many organizational meetings, benefits, and activist events. lowercase has had a constant commitment to providing traveling folk and non-traveling folk alike a place to sleep and food to eat. It has a zero-tolerance antidiscrimination policy, and does its best to maintain a safe space – antiracist, antisexist, pro-queer, pro-trans, (etc.) . lowercase is home to a plethora of projects, and has a commitment to reducing environmental impact and promoting self-sustainability.
Unfortunately, capitalism is fighting against the lowercase collective. The recession has hit residents all over the U.S. hard, foreclosures becoming a fact of life, and lowercase is no exception. This collective house may face eviction in the coming months, and its members need all the support they can get to keep it running.