CHICAGO CITY HALL SIT-IN DAY TWO: Mayor harasses KOCO, sit-in, by removing chairs and forcing senior citizens to sit on the floor, and continues to refuse to meet with protesters as sit-in goes into second day on January 5, 2012

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanule on January 5, 2012, continued to refuse to meet with protesters who have tried to conduct a peaceful and non-violent sit-in outside his fifth floor offices at Chicago's City Hall, adding pressure to the protesters by threatening to arrest them and confiscating chairs that the people had brought (and previously used) for the sit-in. On the previous evening, December 4, 2012, protesters were told by police, who said they were acting on orders from the mayor, that they could not use the City Hall washrooms after "closing time" and that they would be arrested if they did not leave the building by 6:00 p.m.

On the second day of the sit-in against the 2012 Hit List of school closings and turnarounds, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel ordered police to confiscate chairs brought to the site of the sit-in on the fifth floor of City Hall (outside the mayor's office) forcing people to sit on the floor. Although seniors protested the mayor's order, police said there was nothing they could do about it. Meanwhile, Emanuel traipsed across the city staging puerile publicity stunts and trying to avoid the protesters. By the end of the second day of the sit-in, protesters were discussing contacting Emanuel's former boss, President Barack Obama, regarding the ruthless disrespect the former White House Chief of Staff was showing the protests, and the racist school closings which corporate "school reform" has visited on the Bronzeville community since 1998. Substance photo by John Kugler. A video of some of the protesters speaking on the issues and the harassment by Emanuel, the former Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama, was posted on the Chicago Teachers Union website by Kenzo Shibata, who edits the Chicago Union Teacher, the union's monthly magazine. The complete video is available at the following URL: http://www.ctunet. com/blog/video- from-the-koco-sit-in- day-2

On the first day of the sit-in, protesters, led by members of Chicago's Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO) brought chairs and blankets in order to conduct the peaceful sit-in in an orderly fashion. A number of senior citizens, including retired Chicago public school teachers, joined the sit-in, but noted that they were no longer able to sit on a cold marble floor for any lengthy period of time, thereby requiring chairs. At the end of the day on January 4, the protesters were told that they could not use City Hall's public washrooms after 5:00 p.m. and that they would be arrested if they tried to remain in the building after 6:00 p.m. The protesters decided to leave and return the following day, Thursday, January 5.

When the protesters returned in the morning on January 5, police immediately confiscated the chairs that the protesters had used the day before, some indicating that the confiscation was on the orders of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Despite protests from senior citizens who were part of the sit-in that they could no longer sit on a floor and get back up easily, the police indicated that there was nothing they could so, since their orders were coming from Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, who was operating on orders from Emanuel.

Chicago Fourth Ward Alderman Will Burns (second from right above) came out of the mayor's office on December 5 and was invited to join the prayer circle of the protesters siting in on the marble floor outside Mayor Rahm Emanuel's fifth floor City Hall office. Burns represents the Bronzeville (and other) communities most affected by the 2012 Hit List (and most affected by all of the hits since 1998). Protesters are contacting Chicago aldermen and asking them to represent their communities and not Rahm Emanuel in the struggle to eliminate the 2012 Hit List, the first since Emanuel took control of the schools in May and June 2011 by appointing CEO Jean-Claude Brizard and the seven members of the Chicago Board of Education. Substance photo by Susan Zupan.On both January 4 and January 5, Emanuel's media handlers scheduled insignificant media events, such as those Emanuel has staged on an almost daily basis since his inauguration at a major media event in Chicago's Grant Park in May 2011.

Among other things, Emanuel was available to discuss a supposed "micro financing" solution to foreclosures (scheduled for the morning of January 6), supposed savings in the city's electrical grid, and other things. Emanuel also attended the funeral of slain Chicago Police Officer Clifton Lewis. According to press reports, "Emanuel called Lewis a man of 'quiet humility, comforting authority and calm confidence' during the Thursday service." The Chicago Sun-Times also reported that on Wednesday, the mayor helped pass out leaflets seeking the public's help to solve Lewis' slaying. Emanuel was obviously trying to avoid contact with the protesters, despite his claims that he wanted community input on his plans to close or turnaround 20 schools this year.

One member of the protest had a chance encounter with Emanuel outside City Hall on January 5, but the mayor rushed away from her, according to reliable reports.

At the time the protest began, on January 4, the mayor was hosting one of his daily media events at the Illinois Institute of Technology, standing with Commonwealth Edison CEO Anne Pramaggiore to tout Chicago's "SmartGrid" electrical infrastructure. Like most of the mayor's events, the IIT event doubled as a chance to promote one of Emanuel's corporate allies. Throughout the controversy over the 2012 Hit List, Emanuel has refused to answer questions challenging his decision, and his appointed schools CEO, Brizard, has avoided any media discussion where he might have to answer detailed factual questions about the kinds of history now laid out on the floor of the fifth floor at City Hall.

According to Emanuel's press office, he will continue to avoid meeting with the protesters outside his office on Friday, January 6, but will make the time to do a media event on the west side about a program that he claims will aid those facing foreclosures. "Mayor Emanuel will discuss the progress and next phase of the Micro-Markets Recovery Program as part of the administration’s ongoing efforts to battle the foreclosure crisis throughout Chicago," a mayoral press release stated on January 6. The Micro-Markets Recovery Program press conference will be held at 11:15 a.m. at Intersection of W. Huron Street and Spaulding avenues on the city's West Side, according to mayoral aides. Ironically, two of the schools on Emanuel's 2012 Hit List, Casals and Piccolo, are within two miles of the "Micro Markets" media event scheduled for January 6.


Add your own comment (all fields are necessary)

Substance readers:

You must give your first name and last name under "Name" when you post a comment at We are not operating a blog and do not allow anonymous or pseudonymous comments. Our readers deserve to know who is commenting, just as they deserve to know the source of our news reports and analysis.

Please respect this, and also provide us with an accurate e-mail address.

Thank you,

The Editors of Substance

Your Name

Your Email

What's your comment about?

Your Comment

Please answer this to prove you're not a robot:

4 + 5 =