Occupy Chicago plans week of activities

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African-American religious leaders in the struggle for racial and economic justice are joining forces with local grassroots organizations and the Occupy movement on Sunday to call on elected officials to represent the economic interests of the 99 percent.

“We are organizing in the tradition of the Civil Rights movement,” said the Rev. Dwight Gardner, a pastor from Dr. King’s own Progressive Baptist denomination and keynote speaker.

“In Dr. King’s very last sermon, he warned us not to sleep through a time of great change like Rip Van Winkle. This is a moment of great change and we must put our souls in motion to occupy his dream.”

U.S. Reps. Jan Schakowsky, Jesse Jackson Jr. and Peter Visclosky are expected to attend and will be asked to commit to federal infrastructure and jobs legislation. Schakowsky and Jackson will also be asked to commit to a millionaire’s tax and a financial speculation tax.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and state lawmakers Will Davis, Heather Steans and Robyn Gabel will also be on hand to address the subject of corporate taxes in Illinois and other issues facing the Illinois General Assembly.

Sign-in for Sunday’s event begins at 2:30 p.m. at The Peoples Church, 941 W. Lawrence Ave., with the event running from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Occupy the Dream is sponsored by IIRON and its member organizations: Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL), Northside P.O.W.E.R., the Northwest Indiana Federation and the IIRON Student Network. Occupy the Dream is also endorsed by Make Wall Street Pay Illinois and Occupy Chicago.

Community leaders plan other actions next week, including:

  • Monday, Jan 16, 3 p.m.: Occupy the Dream Action at the Federal Reserve (Jackson/LaSalle). The Metropolitan Chicago area African-American Faith Community and Trinity UCC will protest fraudulent foreclosures and high student debt.
  • Monday, Jan 16 at 4:30 p.m.: South Side occupation of home in foreclosure – Liberate the South Side “We Shall Not Be Moved” campaign. Call for details.
  • Tuesday, Jan 17 at 3:30 p.m.: Action demanding the adjustment of an underwater mortgage to fair market value at Bank of America, 135 S. LaSalle, followed by a march to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office to demand withdrawal from the 50-state robo-signer settlement.
  • Wednesday, Jan 18 at 9:30 a.m.: Occupy the Gary Board of Works & Safety at Gary City Hall, 401 Broadway (Cleo Wesson Room) in Gary, Ind.

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