By Jennifer Rice
ELGIN — The mainstream media just doesn’t get what Northern Illinois Job with Justice (NIJwJ) is trying to achieve.
After NIJwJ spokesperson Mary Shesgreen released a press release to Chicago media stations about its Nov. 4 protest outside a branch of Bank of America in Elgin, Channel 7 News called her up.
Only they didn’t want to interview her, or cover the event. Instead, the news station was more concerned if the group would cancel its protest. After all, Bank of America dropped its $5 monthly debit card charge, something NIJwJ was firmly against.
“I guess that’s where they think we’re at,” Shesgreen said. “We really need to make it clear to [mainstream media] that we have bigger fish to fry.”
NIJwJ has always been very clear on is purpose and goals. On the first Friday of every month, the group has a gathering of members, which coincides with the monthly release of the unemployment numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
At this meeting, the group discusses the numbers, has guest speakers — including economists, who can break down the numbers into laymen’s terms for everyone to understand. Over the past year, the group has used these meetings as a catalyst to include protesting outside corporations that aren’t paying its fair share of taxes – mainly Bank of America.
And if the mainstream media would only dig a little deeper, it would know that NIJwJ is fighting the foreclosure policies of Bank of America, as well as other banks. It calls for support of HR 870, which establishes the National Full Employment Trust Fund to create employment opportunities for the unemployed. It also stands in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street.
And those issues are just scratching the surface. It also wants the Bush tax cuts ended; the restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act provisions, providing a protective barrier between commercial banks and investment banks and it would like to end the free trade treaties.
NIJwJ member Steve Bruesewitz would like to see a return to the status quo of 30 years ago, when a single working person could support a family and you didn’t need two people to support a household.
“We also need to return to a time when politicians could be elected based on the knowledge they gave through a neutral media … not by selling 30-second sound byte ads where one politicians tell us another politician is evil,” Bruesewitz added.
As the group held signs along Randall Road and chanted, “We are the 99 percent,” they got numerous honks from passing motorists, signaling their solidarity with the group. Rosemary Schroeder from St. Charles said we are all the 99 percent.
“It doesn’t matter what age you are, we’re all in trouble,” she said. “I think we’re doing the right thing by being here. We fight for the people in the arts, the seniors, my grandkids and kids. These people going by in their cars honking, they are us,” she added with a smile.
By Jennifer Rice