For Immediate Release:
July 30, 2014
This morning, two community members from the organization Blackland Prairie Rising Tide locked themselves to stair banisters inside of the Hilton Anatole hotel at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) annual national convention in Dallas, Texas. Subsequently, two more protesters dropped a banner from a banister in the hotel lobby reading “We Suffer, ALEC Profits.”
Beginning on Wednesday, thousands of business executives as well as local, state and national politicians attended the annual convention, which will last until Saturday morning. The members of Blackland Prairie Rising Tide are airing a multitude of grievances that relate to ALEC’s secretive practices, which include ‘wining-and-dining’ politicians in order to promote legislation written by corporations.
ALEC has written legislation that aims to privatize public services such as prisons, toll roads, and education. Many of the organization’s bills are written as ‘model bills’ that are meant to be replicated around the nation. Recently, the group introduced the controversial ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws in several states. The laws were brought to public attention by the shooter George Zimmerman in the infamous Trayvon Martin case.
Locally in Dallas, billionaire investors are using ALEC legislation to privatize the independent school district and transform it into a for-profit institution. This legislation works by promoting voucher programs that drain public schools of resources by using taxpayer dollars to subsidize private school profits and specifying that those schools must remain unregulated. In addition the bill works to deem public schools “educationally bankrupt” to rationalize giving taxpayer dollars unregulated schools
Cien Fuegos Carmona, a local anti-police brutality community organizer, locked himself inside of the hotel citing concerns of wealth disparity and oppressive governments that lead him to protest today. “Poor folks are always doing the work and the rich are always exploiting and looting our collective dreams,” said Carmona.
ALEC continues to subvert our democracy from behind closed doors, launching a series of corporate-funded attacks on the overall quality of life for the general public without input of those affected for the last four decades,” said Whytney Blythe, a local community activist and organizer who also locked herself inside of the hotel. “Some of the bills ALEC has sponsored includes: the racist Arizona SB 1070, the controversial Stand Your Ground Law and the Minimum Mandatory Sentencing Act, exacerbating the failed ‘War on Drugs’ and boosting the ever-growing prison population all in the name of profit. They actively fight against an established living wage for workers while simultaneously minimizing worker’s rights and manipulating national and state legislatures to inhibit a wide array of efforts to protect the environment as well as public health. The grave danger ALEC poses to our collective wellbeing is severe and we refuse to remain casualties in the name of greed any longer.”
The organization is now seeking donations for costs and plans to uphold a sustained local campaign in relation to local environmental concerns and free trade agreements.