Cease and Desist Order Given to Rahm for Chicago Campaign by Grassroots Activists for Unlawful Use of Protest Photo in Clean Air Ad
Chicago, IL–50 Individuals and groups that worked on the campaign to close down Chicago’s toxic coal plants presented the Rahm for Chicago campaign with a cease and desist order for airing an ad that contains a photo of their protest that the campaign did not have permission to use. Rising Tide Chicago, joined Bridgeport Alliance, Pilsen Alliance and Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization, all community groups that fought to have the coal plants closed, at city hall at 10 a.m. today for a press conference to express their outrage at how their efforts to fight for clean air is being used to promote Rahm Emanuel’s reelection campaign. Rising Tide Chicago demanded that the campaign stop using the photo. Others asked that they pull the ad because it falsely gives Emanuel all the credit for closing the coal plants.
Rising Tide Chicago, one of the groups that worked on the campaign to close down Chicago’s toxic coal plants, were surprised to learn this week that an Emanuel campaign ad contained a photo of a civil disobedience protest that participated in and helped organize. Permission to use the photo was not granted to the Emanuel Campaign by the photographer, and most of the activists that participated in this event are objecting that it’s being used to promote his campaign. They assert that through this ad, their activism is being used to promote a mayor who has put forward neoliberal policies such as closing and privatizing public services while giving handouts to the wealthy.
Activists say the Emanuel ad was misleading as it included a widely publicized photo of a protest at the Midwest Generation Crawford coal generating station, which may wrongly lead viewers to believe that they support Emanuel’s reelection campaign. In the photo, 6 citizens breached the fence at the Crawford Plant in April of 2011 and scaled the coal pile to display a giant sign that read, “Close Chicago’s Toxic Coal Plants.” Those six individuals were arrested for this act of nonviolent direct action that helped escalate the campaign to close the plants.
“We want to make it clear that we don’t support Rahm Emanuel and we don’t want him to use photos of us to support his campaign. He did support the more than a decade long citywide effort to close the Fisk and Crawford coal plants, but the bulk of the work was done by community activists. We do not want to be associated with him because of his closing of 50 public schools and half of Chicago’s mental health clinics, as well as cutting and privatizing city services.” said Mike N. Durschmid of Rising Tide Chicago.
The concerned activists recognize that the common thread among social and environmental issues is that a small group of individuals and corporations profit while our public services, environment and health suffer. “We feel that Rahm Emanuel campaign is unfairly using our grassroots activism to get reelected and promote his agenda for the 1% “ said Angie Viands of Rising Tide Chicago.