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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Protesting Youths Led Away in Cuffs
by Amy Wooten
2006-09-13

This article shared 5146 times since Wed Sep 13, 2006
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Photos by Nick Infusino

________

After being barred from entering a U.S. Army Recruiting Station on Tues., Sept. 12, by Chicago police to stage a sit-in protesting 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell ( DADT ) ,' two members of the gay-rights group Soulforce returned the next morning and were led out in handcuffs.

According to Soulforce member Rob Fojtik, he and Kelsey Pacha returned to the recruiting station at 1239 N. Clybourn Ave. at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 13, to stage a sit-in. Both Fojtik and Pacha were barred from enlisting in the Army Reserves on Aug. 22 because they refused to lie about their sexual orientation as a condition of service.

'We got in and Kelsey and I sat on the floor,' Fojtik told Windy City Times. 'We told them we wouldn't leave unless we were arrested.'

The recruiting station contacted Chicago police, who arrived around 8:30 a.m. Both protesters were handcuffed and led out of the building. They were taken to the police station but were not arrested. The Army and the property owner decided not to charge the Northwestern University students.

Soulforce is an organization that works to end the oppression of LGBT people. Chicago is one of 30 cities in Soulforce's Right to Serve campaign, an anti-DADT project.

'I don't know what our next plan of action will be,' Fojtik said.

On Sept. 12, Soulforce arrived at the station around 10 a.m. Both Fojtik, Pacha and a handful of other LGBT youth were barred from entering the station. Chicago police stood side by side, blocking the entrance. The police told Windy City Times that they got direct orders from the station to prevent anyone besides employees from entering the building.

Fojtik was furious that the station would bar any potential recruits from entering, especially during wartime.

'I think this illustrates how ridiculous this policy is,' Fojtik told the press. Soulforce vowed to return the following day, but decided not to tell the press to better their chances of getting inside.

See righttoserve.org to find out more information about the campaign.


This article shared 5146 times since Wed Sep 13, 2006
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