Pin It protesters once again took to the streets of downtown Chicago today, marching from Daley Plaza to the Target building at State and Madison. Participants included members of various groups, allegedly including Illinois Purge, Citizens Advocacy Center, and US Action.

Leading the protesters in their chants with his megaphone held high was Frank Brown, a Justice For All organizer from Minnesota. Brown and the protesters were singling out Target because they feel the company’s hiring provisions are too stringent in regards to applicants with criminal records.

In 1999, Brown was convicted of first degree sexual misconduct statute 609.342 Subdivision 1B – defined by Minnesota law as sexual conduct with a complainant who “is at least 13 years of age but less than 16 years of age and the actor is more than 48 months older than the complainant and in a position of authority over the complainant.”

Since his release, Brown has been actively working to promote fair hiring practices. In a letter supporting fair hiring, Brown wrote, “I made changes in my life while serving [time in prison].” He believes that people can change and should be given second chances. At least two other protesters were also people with criminal records.
I spoke with Brown after the march and he said, “If it’s (the crime) not related to the job, they should be able to work there.” When asked what an example of this would be – a crime unrelated to the job one is hired to do – Brown responded, “Oh, let’s say they have a drug charge and they’re stocking shelves. One has nothing to do with the other.

Other protesters were railing against the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, which granted independent corporations and unions the ability to donate uncapped amounts of money to political causes.

However, there was a bias towards the unions, with one protester saying that while he thinks there should be limits on the amount of money corporations and public sector unions can contribute, he thinks that the unions should have a higher limit. “Unions have a more righteous claim to being involved in public discourse because it comes directly from union members’ salaries.” Translation: It comes from taxpayer dollars.

Brown appears in this video from yesterday’s protest along with other protesters defending the right’s of unions to influence political elections while at the same time claiming that corporations do not deserve the same rights. H/T:

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