Protesters Demand End to Corporate Control

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Protesters descended upon the Hyatt Regency on Tuesday, June 14 to demand for attendees at the CFO Executive Summit return funds to help Chicago families.

Protesters came out in droves Tuesday afternoon to gain entry into the CFO Executive Summit at the Hyatt Regency to demand that attendees give back the ‘corporate welfare’ that has placed Chicago families at a disadvantaged. Organizations such as, Stand Up! Chicago, Chicago Teachers Union, and the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, joined thousands of families in three simultaneous marches, which ended in a massive rally at Wacker and Michigan. Marchers brought three 12-foot-tall corporate king puppets as part of the protest.

“The puppets are a very visible way to draw attention to the real corporate kings making deals behind-the-scenes at the Summit,” stated E.J. Serrano, organizing director for Stand Up! Chicago. “These CFOs want to hide the hundreds of millions of dollars they’ve received in corporate welfare, but the facts and figures make the truth hard to deny. They’ve stolen taxpayer money, funds that were intended to create jobs, to support struggling schools, and to keep families in their homes.”

The three marches had separate, but related demands. One march called for the CFOs to “Give Back Our Jobs” by fulfilling a promise to create jobs in exchange for public subsidies and tax breaks. “These companies are hurting our communities,” said marcher Maria Hernandez. “They want to do business here and make a lot of money, but instead of creating jobs like they promised, they must make themselves rich.”

The “Give Back Our Schools” march drew attention to the various ways funds have been taken from public schools, including the $250 million in TIF dollars. “Banks are gouging Chicago Public Schools for $3 million a month with toxic interest rate swaps,” said Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis. “As a result, schools continue to lose resources and teachers, threatening our children’s educations and their futures.”

“When you realize that even a fraction of this corporate welfare would be enough to save hundreds of families from losing their homes each year,” said Jerry McDowell, a participant in the “Give Back Our Homes” march. “You have to wonder were these CFOs priorities are. And, unfortunately, it’s pretty easy to tell where their priorities are. They value profit over everything else. And that’s what got us into this whole foreclosure mess in the first place.”

During the protest, some marchers attempting to enter the Summit were taken into custody. “I believe we delivered a message,” said Serrano. “Working families in Chicago aren’t going to put up with this anymore.” Serrano as well as other protesters called upon the CFOs to end their careers as ‘corporate welfare kings’ and invest in families and communities.

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