Resident group to meet with NATO reps

April 23, 2012 4:39:43 PM PDT
A Chicago community group is meeting with NATO representatives to find out if the May summit will disrupt their lives.

All of this as the Rev. Jesse Jackson is announcing that he will join a march against NATO.

The NATO Summit is less than a month away and residents in close proximity to McCormick Place are especially concerned about how the summit will affect them.

In the meantime, more people are joining the protest plan for next month.

"We must end the growth of war," Jackson said. "We must shift the NATO budget to invest in people."

Rev. Jackson is adding his voice to the chorus of people protesting the NATO Summit next month. He stood with union reps and members of Occupy Chicago, who said that spending money on war has become a bigger priority than public health.

"We march on the 20th as a matter of conscience," Jackson said. "Break the cycle of the concentration of too much wealth, too much poverty, too many wars and too much pain."

Jackson said protest march will be non-violent. It will take place the first day of the summit on May 20, starting at Grant Park and ending at McCormick Place, the site of the NATO Summit.

Residents in close proximity to McCormick Place say they have concerns about their safety that weekend.

"So many of the residents have been expressing nervousness and curiosity about just basic, every day things." said Tine Feldstein of the Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance. "Are we going to be able to move in and out of our homes? Will we have to have ID to access our houses?"

The PDNA hopes to get answers to security questions Monday night at meeting with NATO's host committee.

Arnette Heintz says he wants to calm fears people may have for their safety. He said reports that people have been asked to leave their residents that weekend, as was the case at Library Tower on S. State St. is an over-reaction.

"Chicago is prepared," he said. "They have a tremendous plan established to deal with this."