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Protesters Demand Independence From Emanuel On The Fourth

By aaroncynic in News on Jul 6, 2013 3:00PM

Nearly 200 demonstrators converged on Mayor Rahm Emanuel's house Thursday for a "block party against austerity." After marching down the sidewalk from nearby Chase Park to honks and cheers from passing motorists and neighborhood residents on their front porches, demonstrators held a press conference on Emanuel's front lawn where they spoke out against extreme budget cuts and what they call the mayor's "policies of corporate welfare."

“This austerity budget will make the school virtually inoperable,” said Caroline Brown, a CPS teacher and parent, discussing how the school she teaches at faces a $4 million budget cut. “My daughter’s school will lose more than a million dollars next year. This story is repeated at hundreds of schools across the city. And we’re the lucky ones, because my daughter still has a school to attend next year and I still have a job waiting for me at the end of the summer.”

School budget cuts and closures are just the tip of the iceberg for the demonstrators who shut down Emanuel’s street for approximately an hour on the holiday. Other demonstrators called the mayor out over the closure of mental health clinics, problems in public housing, the foreclosure crisis, Chicago’s rising crime rate and more. In between chants of “one term mayor” and “we’ve got to beat back the Rahm attack,” protesters used Emanuel as a focal point for connecting the dots between budget cuts, misappropriated TIF funds, lost jobs and scarce social programs. Organizer Kelly Hayes said, “People who are barely getting by are being punished for the mistakes of the super-rich.”

After about 45 minutes of speeches, demonstrators then turned the rally into a more festive atmosphere, and a dance party broke out in the street in front of Emanuel’s house in Ravenswood. While a mayoral election is still a long way off, protesters announced their agenda for the next race. Near the end of the protest, one demonstrator told the crowd, “Rahm may not have started this, and he might not be the only one doing this, but I think he’s a pretty good place to start the offensive. Let’s make Rahm be a one term Mayor.”