Recently, I traveled with the African American Civic Engagement Roundtable to Chicago to protest the ALEC National Convention. ALEC is the American Legislative Exchange Council, and is made up of legislators, businesses, and foundations from across the country. The members of this council draft policies for various state legislatures and promote free markets, limited government, and federalism at the state level. These same policies often go against worker’s rights, cripple voting rights, privatize our schools, and maintain minimum wage at its current level or eliminating it altogether.
When our group arrived at the Palmer House, you could see many of the protesters already demonstrating outside the hotel. As we entered the hotel and began to ascend to the conference room where the ALEC meetings were being held, we were abruptly stopped and told to exit the hotel immediately if we were not guests of the hotel.
Upon my exit from Palmer House, I was quickly approached by a suited gentleman and told that if I entered the hotel again I would be placed under arrest. This was further fuel added to the revolutionary fire burning within. Initially, I was upset and wanted to disregard the threat and go back in but when I saw that on the other side of the hotel there were protesters and a makeshift stage set up in the middle of the street in downtown Chicago, I knew my place was out here among the people.