DNC protesters lining up city permits now to ensure leaders ‘can see us and hear us’

Organizers say early preparations are meant to avoid the obstacles they faced under Mayor Rahm Emanuel ahead of the 2012 NATO Summit, but they expect a friendlier reception from Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson.

SHARE DNC protesters lining up city permits now to ensure leaders ‘can see us and hear us’
Joe Iosbaker, labor co-chair of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, speaks during a press conference at Federal Plaza in the Loop, where activists announced their plans to march for various issues including police accountability, reproductive rights and immigrant rights during the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Wednesday, April 19, 2023.

Joe Iosbaker, labor co-chair of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, and other activists on Wednesday announced their plans to march during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

The Democratic National Convention isn’t coming to Chicago for another 16 months, but activist groups already are laying the groundwork for massive demonstrations across the city. 

Leaders of numerous progressive groups banding together as the Coalition to March on the DNC said Wednesday they’re lining up city permits now for protests aiming to bring thousands “within sight and sound” of the party honchos in town to re-nominate President Joe Biden in the 2024 election. 

Organizers say the early preparations are intended to avoid the obstacles they met in obtaining approvals from former Mayor Rahm Emanuel administration ahead of the 2012 NATO Summit — not that they’re expecting nearly as much pushback from Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson, a longtime Chicago Teachers Union organizer. 

“Our new mayor comes out of protest movements, but nonetheless, we need to insist on our right to march not only in some parts of town but to the place where the convention-goers, the national leadership of the Democratic Party, can see us and hear us,” coalition organizer Joe Iosbaker said during a Loop news conference. 

Protesters also want to get the word out early to attract activists nationwide to Chicago, where about 12,000 people rallied a decade ago outside the NATO summit at McCormick Place. Iosbaker said the “prospects are tremendous” for an even larger activist presence next August. 

Their DNC demonstration may look similar, with a large rally in Grant Park followed by marches through the Loop — but their message will be broader than the anti-war theme that defined the 2012 protests. 

Activist groups planning demonstrations in Chicago during next year’s Democratic National Convention held a news conference on Federal Plaza Wednesday, April 19, 2023.

Activist groups planning demonstrations in Chicago during next year’s Democratic National Convention held a news conference on Federal Plaza Wednesday.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Groups in the coalition say their “People’s Agenda” includes LGBTQ and abortion rights, immigration reform and unionization, all with an overarching focus on “racist policing,” according to Iosbaker.

“For too long, it has been assumed that Black people by default vote Democrat,” said Amika Tendaji of Black Lives Matter-Chicago. “That party has not protected our young people from being shot by the police. It has not protected us from police brutality. It has not protected or prioritized the safety of Black women and girls. It has not protected or prioritized the safety of Black trans women — and so we will protest until we can get a party that will actually protect Black lives.”

Biden called Gov. J.B. Pritzker last week to inform him Chicago was his pick to host the DNC next Aug. 19-22. The city’s first convention since 1996 is projected to draw 50,000 visitors. 

Party leaders haven’t yet released many details on convention plans. Primetime events will be held at the United Center, with daytime business conducted at McCormick Place. 

“Wherever it is, we want to march there,” Iosbaker said. “We want to put on display for the country that Chicago is having a new day, and we want to invite everybody in the movements around the country to come and add their voices together with us.”

The Latest
Ariana Molina estaba con su familia celebrando una confirmación el sábado por la noche cuando se efectuaron disparos. Diez personas, entre ellas la madre de Ariana, resultaron heridas. La policía culpa a las pandillas por el tiroteo.
“Este anuncio ayudará a equipar a la Municipalidad de Chicago y a nuestro estado para recibir a los solicitantes de asilo de forma segura y ordenada. Es importante recordar la gravedad de esta situación”, declaró el viernes Dick Durbin, senador demócrata por Illinois.
Octavio Lara Chávez, de 40 años, ha sido acusado de manejar bajo los efectos del alcohol con agravantes de muerte y lesiones graves en el accidente ocurrido el domingo 7 de abril en Garfield Ridge.
The veteran defenseman isn’t sure why, but his play and production has improved significantly after Jan. 13 — compared to before that — in each of the last two seasons.
The case has no known connection to the Chicago measles outbreak at a migrant shelter, according to health officials.