The organization Take Back Chicago has a whole week of activities and demonstrations centered around working Chicagoans taking back "our jobs, homes, and schools." Yesterday, thousands of protesters marched through the Loop, up to the steps of the Art Institute of Chicago, alongside members of Occupy Chicago, who have been demonstrating for over two weeks.
While Occupy Chicago's gripe is with widespread corporate greed associated with the financial crisis, Take Back Chicago has more specific aims. They represent a local, rather than national, contingent.
Today, in day two of a weeklong series of events, Take Back Chicago will focus specifically on home foreclosures. Below is a list of demonstrations taking place today, as provided in their press release:
Taking Back Our Homes Day of Action — Day 2 in the Take Back Chicago Week of Action
WHAT: Action Now will be conducting a vacant home clean-up and delivery at a Bank of America owned vacant property in Garfield Park. The clean up crew will collect garbage and furniture from the property, and a group of mothers and grandmothers ages 55-80 will then risk arrest to deliver the garbage and furniture collected to its rightful owners—a downtown Bank of America branch—while protestors rally outside.
WHEN: TODAY, Tuesday, October 11. Clean-up begins at 9:00 a.m.; clean-up delivery at 12:30 p.m.
WHERE: 3328 W Monroe, Chicago, IL, and a downtown Bank of America branch
WHY: According to Action Now organizers, big banks like Bank of America own thousands of vacant and blighted properties in Chicago. Although the city’s vacant property ordinance requires banks to maintain foreclosed properties, blighted bank-owned properties are destroying neighborhoods across the city. Bank-owned properties that are not kept up attract crime, and neighborhood residents have seen an increase in drugs, rapes, killings, and dead bodies. States one clean-up crew member, “Since the banks that own these houses won’t come to our neighborhoods, we’re bringing our neighborhoods to them.”
WHAT: This morning, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council will be boarding up a vacant home owned by Chase bank in Brighton Park and delivering the clean-up bill to Chase Plaza in downtown Chicago.
WHEN: TODAY, Tuesday, October 11. Clean-up begins at 9:00 a.m.; delivery of the bill at 11:30 a.m.
WHERE: 4325 S. Albany, Chicago, IL, and Chase Plaza, downtown Chicago
WHY: Big banks like Chase own thousands of vacant and blighted properties in Chicago. Although the city’s vacant property ordinance requires banks to maintain foreclosed properties, blighted bank-owned properties are destroying neighborhoods across the city. States a clean-up crew member, “Chase is letting properties like this deteriorate, becoming magnets for crime in our neighborhoods. We’re holding Chase responsible for not following the city’s vacant property ordinance, and we’re expecting them to pay the bill.”
WHAT: This afternoon, Albany Park Neighborhood Council will be holding a rally at the downtown offices of the Chicago Association of Realtors. Hundreds of protestors will gather to call for a stop to the illegal practice of “cash for keys.”
WHEN: TODAY, Tuesday, October 11, 4:00 p.m.
WHERE: 200 S. Michigan, Chicago, IL
WHY: Hundreds will gather to demand that the Chicago Realtors Association stop the practice of the “cash for keys,” in which Realtors offer tenants in foreclosed buildings nominal amounts of cash to vacate the building. In Chicago, renters in foreclosed properties have the right to stay through the length of their lease, but there have been increasing reports of Realtors offering these tenants smalls sums of money in exchange for their keys, so that the building may be sold more quickly. Albany Park Neighborhood Council is holding the rally in support of renters’ rights, and to demand accountability from Chicago area Realtors.
Tomorrow, Take Back Chicago's activities will address taking back the city's schools. For more information, go to TakeBackChicago.org.