Local Latino leaders, including U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL,4) and Chicago aldermen, are planning a Monday morning news conference to invite Chicagoans to participate in a peaceful protest ahead of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in the city this week.
Trump's campaign rally in Chicago is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday at the UIC Pavilion, 525 S. Racine Ave. Thousands have already RSVP'd on Facebook to participate in a "Stop Trump - Chicago" protest outside the UIC Pavilion at 3 p.m. Friday before the event begins.
Gutierrez and Chicago Alds. George Cardenas (12th), Raymond Lopez (15th) and Gilbert Villegas (36th) are expected to invite people to join the anti-Trump demonstration at Monday's press conference, also to be attended by representatives from the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and the Centro Sin Fronteras.
Trump has come under fire from the immigrant community in particular for, among other things, his anti-immigrant comments and hard-line policy proposals.
UPDATE (6:04 p.m.): Uproar continued Monday over Trump's rally planned for Friday at the UIC Pavilion.
As of Monday evening, about 180 UIC faculty and staff had signed onto a "letter of concern" addressed to UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis regarding the upcoming Trump campaign event. Several public safety concerns are cited in the letter.
"We are deeply distressed that this event threatens to create a hostile and physically dangerous environment to the students, staff, faculty and alumni who come out to express their opposition," reads the letter. "We base this claim on what happened recently at another public higher education institution, Valdosta State in Georgia, where university security ejected a group of peaceful protestors, all of whom were students enrolled at the university, who were seeking to attend the rally being held in a campus venue. We are also concerned for the safety of the diverse staff and team of student employees who work at the UIC Pavilion, as well as of those in our community who have no choice but to traverse parts of the campus around the Pavilion going to and from work and class from the time the event doors open around three through and immediately after the full closure of the building."
"If you affirm your decision to allow the event to move forward," the letter adds, "we seek answers to a set of questions about how our institution plans to protect us and keep us safe."
The letter comes as more than 44,000 people have signed onto a MoveOn petition, calling on the university to cancel the Trump campaign event.
"Donald Trump is running on a platform of hate and dangerous intolerance. It has no place in Chicago but especially not at an institution of higher learning," reads the online petition, which is seeking 50,000 signatures. "In many instances Trump rallies have led to students, youth, and people of color being violently attacked by attendees. UIC should not be host to hate. Please cancel the event."