Protesters Hold Fourth of July 'Block Party' Outside Emanuel's Home | NBC Chicago
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Protesters Hold Fourth of July 'Block Party' Outside Emanuel's Home



    (Published Thursday, July 4, 2013)

    This Fourth of July block party wasn't your typical red, white and blue celebration.

    Instead, dozens of community activists converged on Mayor Rahm Emanuel's block Thursday to protest budget cuts to public services and "speak out against these austerity measures and celebrate citywide resistance to his mayorship."

    The so-called "block party" involved marching, music, dancing and speakers.

    "Time is up for you to now be in control of everything that has to do with our lives," said one speaker. "We declare ourselves independent on this day, on the Fourth of July."

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    As of Thursday afternoon more than 400 people had signed up on the group's Facebook page to attend the gathering at Chase Park and following block party on the 4200 block of Hermitage.

    Activists marched along the street chanting, "One term mayor," and "Cut back, fight back."

    "At a time when working people are already struggling to make ends meet, Mayor Emanuel is eliminating thousands of jobs across the city every year," event organizer Greg Goodman said.

    Goodman said Emanuel is systematically dismantling social programs that residents rely on and selling public institutions to corporate profiteers.

    Among the things protested at the event was Emanuel's involvement in the closing of several Chicago Public Schools.

    "It's time to take back our city, take back our schools, and let's make Rahm be a one term mayor," said speaker Katie Osgood.

    Last month, more than 850 CPS teachers and staffers at closing and turnaround schools were laid off. Up to 420 teachers from closing schools received pink slips, along with 110 teacher assistants and 133 bus aides and part-time seasonal employees.

    "People who are barely getting by are being punished for the mistakes of the super-rich," organizer Kelly Hayes said. "That's what austerity is. We're going to let Mayor Emanuel know we didn't create this crisis, and we're not going to pay for it."