Tag Archives: occupy chicago

Boots Riley and Overpass Light Brigade Collaborate in Chicago Concert

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“…The highest point of living life, is being engaged with the world around you. Not just sitting back and taking note of history, taking note of what happened, but being part of making what happens. – Boots Riley

Chicago, IL - Friday was a difficult day for many Chicago activists. First, news broke that although the “NATO 3” were acquitted of federal terrorism charges, the three protesters were convicted of “mob action” and “possessing an incendiary device,” charges likely to carry heavy prison sentences. Second, exactly one week had passed since three of the MICATS were convicted on multiple felony counts for temporarily halting construction at an Enbridge construction site in nearby Michigan. And third, it was a cold, grey day in the city, the kind of day in late winter that makes Chicagoans, activist and non-activist alike, yearn for spring.

However, Friday night brought a much-needed boost to the spirits of those assembled at Reggie’s Rock Club. The crowd at the local venue was treated to an inspirational show of music and light, as Boots Riley and The Coup teamed up with the Overpass Light Brigade and Overpass Light Brigade – Chicago.

Reggie’s was packed for the show, which featured Environmental Encroachment, Agents of Change, and Phillip Morris in addition to the headliner from Oakland, the Coup. The performances were spectacular, and made particularly moving by the political consciousness displayed by those on stage. Several bands gave shout-outs to the NATO 3, and Boots Riley gave props to the Chicago Teacher’s Union as well.

The visual crescendo of the evening came during the first chords of “Guillotine.” As the song began, LED letters started appearing at the right side of the stage. Members of the audience stepped forward to accept letters, and then climbed to the stage one by one. The line between audience and performer blurred as the collective message was revealed in soft pinpoints of light. Phillip Morris, a Minneapolis rapper who tore it up with “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” posted this about the show: “The Coup crushed it as the headlining act, and they brought the Overpass Light Brigade up onstage with them to display the word “REVOLUTION” across the entire stage, which was probably my favorite part of the show.”

Boots Riley and Silk E worked their magic in front of the illuminated message. Camera phones and iPads flashed as the delighted audience captured the moment to share with friends and loved ones. As his performance drew to a close, Boots thanked the OLB for the work they have done and continue to do. However, what made the evening truly special was not the mere presence of lighted letters, but the collaboration between two groups committed to fighting the takeover of our democracy by a moneyed few, and the blending together of their respective art forms to form something new, uplifting and powerful.

More photos from the evening can be found here.

Occupy Chicago and Overpass Light Brigade Participate in Anti-Eviction / Foreclosure March

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The OLB and Occupy Chicago teamed up to take an "OCCUPY OUR HOMES" message to Grant Park in Chicago to help raise awareness of the growing home defense movement.

The OLB and Occupy Chicago teamed up to take an “OCCUPY OUR HOMES” message to Grant Park in Chicago to help raise awareness of the growing home defense movement.

Chicago, IL - 14.5 million homes and an even greater number of families have been unjustly forced from their homes since the beginning of the financial meltdown (2007). Banks have used unethical (robo-signers) and draconian methods (predatory lending) to rip families from their homes exacerbating an already dire housing market. The fight-back against these ruthless practices has begun, led by the Occupy Wall Street Movement (Occupy Our Homes). Occupy Chicago and the Overpass Light Brigade (OLB) took part in a joint action Monday night to raise awareness of the backlash against these unethical institutions, who have unfairly profited on the backs of American families.

The OLB and Occupy Chicago took this message to Grant Park, where a year earlier Occupy Chicago’s Occupation was illegally evicted.

On the one-year anniversary of Occupy Chicago‘s illegal eviction from Grant Park (which the city of Chicago recently lost in court) provided an opportunity for Chicago Occupiers to organize an anti-eviction and foreclosure rally and march (From Tents to Homes) to the very site where the illegal arrests and encampment eviction occurred (Grant Park). Occupiers and the OLB met on the corner of Lasalle and Jackson street (Bank of America Center) before marching an “OCCUPY OUR HOMES” message through the streets of downtown Chicago. The marchers and message arrived at “The Horse” statue at Grant Park where a speak-out took place against this mass robbery by the banks. Watch the video below to see some of the highlights from this powerful action meant to raise greater awareness of the growing home defense movement.

Occupy Our Homes from Occupy Riverwest on Vimeo.

Marching the “OCCUPY OUR HOMES” message through downtown Chicago to Grant Park.

Overpass Light Brigade to Join Occupy Chicago for One-Year Occupy Wall Street Anniversary

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The Overpass Light Brigade will be bringing an Occupy Wall Street message to the Occupy Chicago one-year anniversary in Chicago Monday night.

The Overpass Light Brigade will be bringing an Occupy Wall Street message to the Occupy Chicago one-year anniversary in Chicago Monday night.

Milwaukee, WI - Occupy Chicago and the Overpass Light Brigade (OLB) have announced that they have finalized plans to collaborate Monday night in Chicago for the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street (OWS). Plans call for OLB to display an OWS message in front of the Chicago Board of Trade Building in the heart of Chicago’s financial district, which is where the Occupy Chicago rally and march will conclude. The rally starts at 5:00 at Congress and Michigan Street.

The Overpass Light Brigade takes political messages to overpass bridges around the state of Wisconsin.




Anyone interested in joining the Brigade in holding the message should meet at the corner of Quincy and LaSalle Street, where the LED letters will be unloaded and synchronized for a march to the Chicago Board of Trade Building (141 Jackson Blvd). If you aren’t familiar with the Overpass Light Brigade, they are an affiliation of volunteer activists that use LED letters to spell out messages on Wisconsin pedestrian overpass bridges. These performative actions, called “Bridge Parties,” use the people’s bandwidth of public space to engage peaceful protests and tactics of visibility. This Monday night’s OLB’s message however will not be on an overpass bridge but with the People in the streets of Chicago. Come and join them for what should prove to be an amazing evening of solidarity.

Facebook Event Page


Occupy Sends A Strong Message to Mayor 1% Emanuel

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A member of Occupy The Hood - Chicago speaks at the Rahm Emanuel protest.

J.R. Fleming of Occupy The Hood - Chicago speaks at the Rahm Emanuel protest.

Milwaukee, WI – A coalition of different Occupy Wall Street (Occupy Milwaukee, Occupy Chicago, Occupy the Hood – Milwaukee and Chicago, and Occupy Fond du Lac) and community groups from Wisconsin and Illinois came together in solidarity against the visit of Chicago’s 1% Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel was visiting the city of Milwaukee to make an appearance at a $400 – 1,000 per plate fundraiser for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Emanuel was targeted for his recent city budget that cut six mental health clinics and privatized another seven neighborhood health clinics, all of which are in communities of most need. Emanuel also pushed through two city ordinances for the coming NATO Summit in Chicago that limit protestors civil liberties and recently he has even blocked groups from protesting in Chicago the day of the Summit. He has also diverted millions of public dollars in to purchasing paramilitary riot gear.

Occupiers marched around the Italian Community Center before attempting to enter the building.

The protestors marched around the Italian Community Center, where Rahm was speaking. Eventually Occupiers decided to take their message to Rahm Emanuel directly but were quickly blocked off by Milwaukee Police officers. The Occupiers stood their ground attempting to negotiate with the officers to allow them to express their First Amendment Rights. The group amended their request to the officers to allow for one member of their coalition in the event to speak to Emanuel but this request was too denied. Eventually the officers told the group they needed to back up to the city sidewalk or else face arrest. After several more attemps by the group to be allowed to speak to Emanuel they went back to the sidewalk chanting to Rahm “We’ll be back!, We’ll be back! Occupy Riverwest has also been told from a fundraiser attendee that, “We could hear you loud and clear inside”. Excellent work everyone!

Occupy Riverwest Ustreamed through Occupy Wisconsin’s Livestream account the entire action live and has posted the videos for all to see. Below you will find all the coverage from the “Protest Rahm’s Attack on the 99%” along with time playlists that tell you where key events of the day happened. Thanks to Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle (S.T.O.P.) and Danielle Meyer (Occupy Milwaukee) for facilitating the speakers.

Occupy Riverwest Picture Album of Event

 Protest Rahm’s Attack on the 99% Pt 2:

0:33 Protestors march around the Italian Community Center

3:30 the Milwaukee Police Department arrives

13:50 CBS 58 News interview of Ed Sadlowski of AFSCME

16:30 CBS 58 News interview of Jacob Anikulapo of Occupy Milwaukee

24:25 WISN 12 News interview with Ed Sadlowski of AFSCME

 Protest Rahm’s Attack on the 99% Pt 3

0:01 Jeremy Segal Provocateur Reporter from Education Action Group, a right-wing news group.

4:00 J.R. Fleming from Occupy The Hood – Chicago speaking

10:05 Adam Breihan from Peace Action WI on upcoming NATO protests

10:40 Chance Zombor from Occupy the Hood – Milwaukee

16:15 Paul from the Illinois Nurses Association

19:00 Occupy marches around the venue

28:30 The Milwaukee Police Department block occupiers from entering the venue

29:24 J.R. Fleming from Occupy The Hood – Chicago talking to the police

31:25 Khalil Coleman from Occupy the Hood – Milwaukee speaks to the police

34:57 Diane Adams from S.T.O.P. (Southside Together Organizing for Power)

42:40 Jacob Anikulapo of Iraq Veteran Against the War

 Protest Rahm’s Attack on the 99% Pt 4

0:40 MPD give Occupiers their final warning to back up to sidewalk.

0:45 Khalil Coleman of Occupy The Hood – Milwaukee

10:00 Occupy Riverwest interview with Diane Adams of S.T.O.P.

21:20 Occupy calls out to all to join them for the upcoming NATO protest