NATO Summit: Occupy’s Day of Action at the Daley Center

Foreclosure photo by Paul Tadalan

Protesters carry furniture to Daley Plaza to act out a skit on evictions. (Photo by Paul Tadalan)

By Paul Tadalan
The Red Line Project

Posted: Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A crowd of appoximately 130 rallied Wednesday morning at the corner of Jackson Blvd. and LaSalle Street for Occupy Chicago’s “Actions to Demand A One-Year Moratorium on Foreclosures and Evictions” demonstration.

Among the group was Occupy affiliated organization—Communities United Against Eviction and Foreclosure (CUAEF)—who works with homeowners and tenants facing foreclosure around the city to help their individual problems be heard in order to find resolution.

“We’re going against the heart of the system—private property,” said CUAEF representative Jorje Ortiz. ”Land and property represents one of the most fundamental sources of capital and exploitation around the world. So we’re at the heart of the problem, here in this country”

The goal of the demonstration was to demand a moratorium on evictions by Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, who has already instated two moratoriums in the past.

“We’re not just talking to the sheriff, we’re talking to the banks,” he said. “We’re telling them to work with families and stop kicking families out of their homes.”

Beginning their march through the South Loop and destined for Dart’s offices at the Daley Center, the group first made two stops at the Housing and Urban Development building and the Citibank building, where distressed homeowners voiced their problems.

“They gave us the bait and switch.,” said Christina Winfrey, who had taken a forbearance agreement on her home but now claims Citibank has done nothing to help her to move forward while realty rates rise. ”They are taking our hard earned dollars and funneling it through a system that’s not working.”

Once Occupy arrived at the Daley Center, they set up a living room set on a stage—which was intended for a performance later in the day—and performed a dramatic reenactment of a family forced out of their home due to wrongful and unfair foreclosure.

“Chicago is spending millions and millions of dollars on setting up and securing NATO, while people are getting kicked out of their homes and six mental health clinics have closed,” said CUAEF representative Chris Poulos. “It only costs two million to keep a health clinic open. The funding and policy priorities are out of whack.”

Most people believe Occupy demonstrations have no impact on those they are attempting to reach. But nearing the end of the demonstration, two representatives from the Cook County Sheriff’s office came outside to inform Occupy that he would speak with CUAEF representatives to discuss when a future meeting would take place.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” Poulos said. ”But not far enough.”

Police Photo by Paul Tadalan

Chicago Police line the street as foreclosure and eviction protesters
make their way to Daley Plaza. (Photo by Paul Tadalan)

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