Updated at 5:44 pm on 10/10/11
A group of unions and organizations are protesting in downtown Chicago on Monday, but under a new name; they’re calling this rally “Take Back Chicago.” Made up of groups like Chicago Teachers Union and Service Employees International Union, marchers say big banks are responsible for the foreclosure crisis and a weak job market. Five separate protests with seemingly disparate interests met for a mass rally at the Art Insitute of Chicago on Monday evening after marching through the streets; the Mortgage Bankers Association annual conference is being held there this week.
Following the weekend’s news of 12 proposed demands from the group of anti-Wall Street protestors Occupy Chicago, the protesters held trainings on how to interact with the police, marched and chanted, and distributed press releases throughout the day.
Taylor Massa, a student at Roosevelt University, started coming to the Federal Reserve Bank a week ago. She said she was inspired to join the movement by her father, who has a master’s degree, but has been unemployed for the past ten years.
“There’s definitely like an intersectionality quality about this movement,” said Massa. “That it’s not just young people, it’s not just old people, it’s everybody. Because everyone is the 99 percent. So I think it’s great that we have unions here, teachers, everyone.”
But not everyone joined Take Back Chicago under the auspices of an organized endeavor. Barbara Jill Bates, a teacher at Yates Elementary School for 33 years, said she came out with the Chicago Teachers Union to protest against a very Chicago-specific cause.
“I’m out here to protest and to demonstrate our unhappiness with what the board of education is doing to the teachers union,” said Bates, referring to the ongoing dispute between the CTU and the CPS Board of Education over whether or not to extend the school day.
Protest organizers expect more than 7,000 participants to join the rally. As of 5:30 pm, Michigan Ave was closed from Congress to Washington due to the march. “THOUSANDS of ppl making their way to the Art Institute,” WBEZ’s traffic reporter Sarah Jindra tweeted early in the evening.