Anti-war demonstrators at Boeing annual meeting protest drones
By SAMANTHA BOMKAMP | Chicago Tribune | Published: April 29, 2013
About a dozen anti-war activists protested Boeing's annual meeting at the Field Museum of Natural History on Monday, arguing against the world's largest plane maker's production of drones and its financial support by the city of Chicago.
While most people know Boeing for commercial airplanes, its defense and space units make up 40 percent of its total sales. Military aircraft, specifically, accounted for 20 percent of its revenue last year.
The protestors, representing the Anti-War Committee of Chicago, claim that Boeing-made drones kill innocent civilians and say they're concerned that the use of drones is growing. Drones are unmanned aircraft operated by military personnel using video screens.
Holding signs that read "What percent of your dividends is blood money" and "Murder from a distance is still murder," they stood against the development of drones as well as tax incentives provided to Boeing that led it to bring its headquarters here more than a decade ago.
"As a Chicago public school parent, I resent the fact that Boeing reports record profits while the public schools are being defunded and closed," said Sarah Simmons, a protest organizer and Boeing stockholder.
Lisa Angonese, a Chicago mother of two, said she came out to support an agenda of peaceful resolution to conflict overseas instead of the continuation of war. The daughter of a World War II pilot, she says that the government needs to try harder to fight for peace, because violence overseas merely perpetuates discrimination against people here at home.
"I think we have to overcome violence with boldness," she said.
Kait McIntyre, a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago, has been an anti-war activist since 2007 and participated in a protest at Boeing headquarters when the fight against the company's drone program started earlier this year.
"I don't want Chicago to be known as the birthplace of a machine that kills people," she said.
A Boeing spokesman declined to comment on the protest.