Protesters Stage Die-In At Palmer House During ALEC Conference

By aaroncynic in News on Aug 8, 2013 3:30PM

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Demonstrators staged a “die-in” outside the Palmer House Wednesday morning as part of a series of protests of the American Legislative Exchange Council conference. More than 70 people, many wearing hoodies with stickers reading “Repeal Stand Your Ground” affixed to them, assembled outside the hotel and played dead to protest the legislation which ALEC helped to write. Wednesday was the first day of the lobbying organization’s 40th annual conference and the second day groups protested at the hotel. On Monday, six people were arrested at a rally and banner drop the Chicago Moral Monday Coalition held in the lobby.

“ALEC is here today to push stand your ground laws all across our nation,” said a demonstrator on a bullhorn after the mass of protesters stood back up. The organization approved a piece of “model legislation” called the Castle Doctrine Act in 2005, which two dozen states have used in various forms of stand your ground type laws, which played a large role in the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012.

Critics of Stand Your Ground have called it an inherently racist piece of legislation. “As a Latina, Stand Your Ground is detrimental to my safety and that of all people of color,” said Angelica Sanchez from the Illinois Hunger Coalition. Carl Gibson from the group US Uncut said “I think it’s really offensive that we subjugate people to societal racism like stand your ground laws.” Gibson said that the nuances in the Florida Stand Your Ground law enabled George Zimmerman “to get away with murder.” “The fact is a grown man with a gun stalked an unarmed teen while he was walking back to his house. That’s the world ALEC wants to create.”

Several groups plan to demonstrate again at the Palmer House today beginning at noon.