Chicago protesters urge Disney CEO to resign from Trump’s business council

Protestors create human wall around the Disney store
Protestors create human wall around the Disney store on State street on February 28. (Angel Idowu/MEDILL)

By Angel Idowu

Nearly 100 anti-Trump protesters gathered on February 27 around the Federal Plaza decorated in shades of bright yellows, purples, and greens as they screamed in unison against corporate America for their sixth #ResistTrumpTuesdays.

“This week we are calling for legislators to pass legislation that would close $1 billion  worth of corporate tax loopholes,” said Samantha Nichols, seminarian at Lutheran School of Theology in Hyde Park. “We want to see those changes happen and take advantage of people’s anger in a way that builds a sustainable resistance for the next however many years.”

Despite tornado warnings, protesters filled the streets with personalized chants as they made their way to the Disney store.

In unison, the group sang their own version of Frozen’s “Let It Go,” urging Disney CEO Bob Iger to resign from [President Donald] Trump’s Business Advisory Council.

“We are calling on him to let Trump go,” said Alka Lyall, a pastor on the North Side.

With the People’s Address aiming to combat corporate America this week, protesters hope that individuals will use their anger to fuel a sustainable movement.

“Corporations have hijacked the budget process, leaving us without a budget,” Nichols said. “This is a response to Trump appointing more and more CEOs. and other corporate reps to his Cabinet.”

Advocates of the #ResistTrumpTuesdays group said they hope that their persistence sends a clear message to President Trump, as they find his economic nationalism a “toxic lie and a doomed strategy.”

“If he really wants to grow this country and jumpstart our economy and innovations, we need to be funding everything,” said Veronica Arreola, assistant director of the WISE program at UIC. “Not just building more fighter jets and increasing military funding.”

President Trump’s council is chaired by Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman. Some committee members of the advisory include CEO’s of General Motors, JPMorgan Chase, and Wal-Mart.

Earlier this year, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigned just one day before the council’s first meeting in response to pressure received from customers and employees about Uber supporting Trump’s immigration ban.

Currently in Illinois, two-thirds of corporations pay no corporate income tax to the state, and because of that, Illinois is suffering from lack of revenue. There has been no budget for 19 months.

The protesters hope that their resistance against Trump’s corporate agenda will force Illinois lawmakers to pass legislation to close the loophole.

“Rauner is prioritizing the 1 percent over the needs of the people, and we’re calling for a government and a budget that puts people first,” Nichols said.

Photo at top: Protesters create human wall around the Disney store on State street on February 28. (Angel Idowu/MEDILL)