Occupy Chicago was part of the Occupy Movement that swept the country in 2011 after Occupy Wall Street began in New York City. Protests focused on corporate greed and self-interested corporate influence within Government. Occupy Chicago positioned themselves in the heart of Chicago’ financial center, on the corner beside Bank of America (formerly the Continental Illinois building, origin of the term “Too big to fail”), and across the street from the Federal Reserve and Chicago Board of Trade. Protestors occupied this corner day and night, no matter the weather and marches/demonstrations happened regularly. Just prior to a NATO and G8 summit in the city in 2012, Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, passed an ordinance that restricted the rights of protestors which became widely viewed as an attack on the right to peacefully assemble guaranteed in the federal Bill of Rights. This spurred further protests and the notion that the very foundation of our government had become under attack by politicians trying to cling to seemingly unlimited power.
Who are the Children of Solidarity? These are children who were present during the 2011 Wisconsin Worker’s Rights Protests that took place at the capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin. During this time, Wisconsin Republicans, lead by Governor Scott Walker, proposed a very unpopular “Budget Repair Bill” that would also diminish collective bargaining rights for public workers. In an attempt to prevent the vote, 14 Democrat Senators fled the state. Meanwhile tens-of-thousands of people physically occupied the capitol building in protest. In response, state Republicans attempted to have these Senators arrested and returned to the state. Inspired by these 14 Democrats and the protestors, protests erupted in many other states where similar bills had been proposed. Ultimately Republicans opted to alter the conditions within the bill in order to cast their votes without the Democrats present and passed the bill with little trouble. This lead to several lawsuits filed against Gov. Walker and a recall election for the Governor and Republican Senators as well. Walker was successful in keeping his position as head of the state and eventually attempted to expand his influence with a presidential bid in 2016. So who are the Children of Solidarity? These are the people who must live the longest with the consequences of the new economy and environment created by the actions taken by Wisconsin Republicans in 2011.
This work was made during the 2009 celebration of Sukkot for the Lubavitch in Crown Heights, NY. Sukkot is an annual jubilee that celebrates harvests and the 40 years that were spent wandering the desert with Moses, living in temporary shelters. Every year at this time, families build their own temporary shelters to eat and drink in and to entertain their guests within. L’Chaim comes from a common toast “to life” made during this time.