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Monday, May 01, 2006

Immigrant Demonstration

I will talk about the "Day Without an Immigrant" Demonstration that happened today but I first want to do a quick rundown of the past couple of weeks.

I went to Michigan for Easter and am glad I did because my middle sister, Melissa, was unable to make it to Chicago for my birthday. I spent Friday, and Saturday there and left on Sunday. Friday and Saturday were pretty lowkey but we had a couple of big meals on Sunday. Monday and Tuesday I started preparing for my family to be here but it was slowed because I did not have internet access at my house so was having to go to the library. On a regular day I get between 40 and 60 emails that are not spam and if I don't take care of them every day, they stack up rapidly. On Tuesday (the 18th), I had a technician over and he brought a new modem. Unfortunately, we discovered that my USB connections no longer worked so I wasn't going to have a connection with that computer. Luckily, my brother Marty was going to bring me a new computer on Friday so I didn't have to be long without a computer at home. Wednesday, the 19th was my 40th birthday and my co-workers made me a cake and got me a card. When I went home, I watched a movie and drank a beer. I took Thursday and Friday off from work in order to preparefor my family staying here. I didn't go to the library and I cleaned hardcore. Friday evening my brother and sister arrived and I took them out for dinner (Leona's) before I went to my hotel (Club Quarters). On Saturday, I celebrated my birthday. I spent the day running up and down the Magnificent mile with my brothers and little sister doing the tourist thing. After sopping for a few minutes at my hotel, we walked to Moonstruck Chocolate before walking to Millenium Park. We then walked to Vosges Haut Chocolate, the Apple Store, and ended up for a while at Water Tower Place. We then walked back to my hotel so I could change my clothes and we met my friend, Jon. For dinner, we went to Emilio's Sol y Nieve which is just east of Michigan Avenue. The rest of my family joined us except for three nephews and my sister Melissa (that would be my sister Tracy and her husband Paul, my parents, and my nephew Carter for those of you who are counting). We were also joined by my friend Guy, his children and his mother, and my friends Jerry and Scott. In all, there were about 17 people there. It was a lot of fun, there was a little fun played at my expense, and the food was fabulous. After dinner, we went to Dave and Buster's. On Sunday, I went home, picked up my sister and her boyfriend Jon, and went to my sister Tracy's for the day where everyone basically collapsed. On Monday, I met someone for coffee. On Tuesday, I got another new modem because the one that I had received apparently didn't work. It was also the day of my book club. On Wednesday, I volunteered at the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation in preparation for their annual Bike the Drive. On Thursday, I volunteered at a fundraiser/international dinner for an organization of several churches that helps bring refugees into this country and helps to get them established once they are in this country. This weekend, with the exception of meeting my friend Scott for Sushi on Saturday night, I did nothing and Nothing was good.

Now that I am caught up I can talk about today. Today was the 120th anniversary of the Haymarket Riot (or Tragedy, depending on your point of view). It was a historic day in the labor movement. May 1st, May Day, is also recognized as Labor day throughout the world. Because the immigration and illegal immigration issues are so intertwined with the labor movement, several labor organizations combined with several immigrant rights organizations to organize this demonstration and it was an amazing thing. Police estimated there were about 400,000 demonstrators and the organizors estimated about 700,000 marchers. The best guess is somewhere in between. In any case it was an enourmous crowd and it was very well behaved. We marched from Union Park at Ashland and Washington to Butler Field in Grant Park, a distance of about 3 1/2 miles. I enjoyed myself and was glad to be a part of it.


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