25th Ward Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez speaks at the MAT Asphalt protest in McKinley Park on the morning of Saturday, May 15, 2021.

Protesters Assail Mayor Lori Lightfoot, MAT Asphalt at McKinley Park Demonstration

Published May 15, 2021

Protesters from the Southwest Environmental Alliance demonstrated against MAT Asphalt and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on the morning of Saturday, May 15, 2021, on the east end of McKinley Park across from the MAT Asphalt plant at 2033 W. Pershing Road, Chicago.

 
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"Get the fuck out of here," 25th Ward Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez said of MAT Asphalt as he spoke to the crowd. Sigcho-Lopez cited as a source for outrage the just-published study by researchers from the University of Illinois - Chicago's School of Public Health showing that Latino students and neighborhoods are disproportionately burdened by nearby Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) sites.

 
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MAT Asphalt Southwest Environmental Alliance protest Theresa McNamaraSouthwest Environmental Alliance leader Theresa Reyes McNamara speaks at the MAT Asphalt protest in McKinley Park on May 15, 2021.Sigcho-Lopez and Southwest Environmental Alliance leader Theresa Reyes McNamara accused Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot of corruption related to MAT Asphalt because of the City of Chicago contracts that have been awarded to the firm.

More than 80 people were in attendance at the protest, including spokespeople for the Southwest Environmental Alliance, local residents and members of the press. A street sweeper from the asphalt plant circled on Pershing Road, adding noise over the speakers, until it was pulled over by Chicago police.

 
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Following the speeches, protesters moved across Pershing Road to demonstrate at the entrance to MAT Asphalt.

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MAT Asphalt co-owner Michael Tadin Jr. said that the company has saved the City of Chicago millions of dollars by creating competition in the local asphalt market, and has won the work through the city's standard process for receiving, assessing and awarding bids.

He also noted extra measures taken at the plant to make it as clean as possible, and MAT Asphalt's open-door policy where anyone can receive an in-person tour of the plant and learn about its operations.

"We want to be good neighbors," Tadin said.

MAT Asphalt Southwest Environmental Alliance protest crowdProtesters and attendees applaud at the MAT Asphalt protest in Chicago's McKinley Park the morning of Saturday, May 15, 2021.

Ed. Note: MAT Asphalt is a Sponsor of the McKinley Park News. For information about our operations and policies, see our About Us page and the Letter from the Editor "Building a Trustworthy News Business."


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