Community Responses to Section 101 Ticket Cancellations.

In response to the Fire Management’s decision to issue a ban of an entire supporters section, the Section 8 Chicago board has gathered reactions from the community which can be read below, as well as issuing our own response, which can be read here.

Sector Latino

Today is dark day for the Chicago Fire Soccer Club and its Supporters. We are now convinced that the Chicago Fire is a racist administration. One that targeted its Latino Supporters and systematically employed all of its resources to eradicate Sector Latino. No matter if we were the victims of aggression or the aggressors, for which we accepted responsibility. To the Chicago Fire administration, we were deemed always the instigators. Labeled the “ugly ducks” by previous administration, threatened with relocation or dissolution if a season-ticket quota was not met and now denied due process at this charade of a hearing. We request a fair and timely hearing. One in a neutral setting.

 

WB05

WB05 believes in a non-hierarchical distribution of power and engaging in active struggle against racial, sexual, gender, and class oppression. We reject the reactionary exercise of power by the Chicago Fire front office and express our solidarity with Sector Latino/101. We believe Sector Latino/101’s grievances are justified and will withhold our labor and resources from the club until they are resolved to their satisfaction.

 

CF97 Sirens

Several Sirens attended the scheduled meeting at Schuba’s yesterday evening and contributed to a constructive discussion related to the Sector Latino appeal hearing with Fire leadership on Wednesday.

Within the past hour, the Fire front office issued a statement with their decision that Sector Latino is no longer a recognized supporter group and the privileges afforded that designation are permanently revoked, with all tickets issued for Section 101 canceled with refunds pending.

We have been frustrated by the lack of transparency from the Front Office throughout this process, as well as their poor communication and delayed response.

We are deeply disappointed with and extremely disheartened by the actions of the Chicago Fire Front Office. To see a dedicated and passionate supporters’ group so harshly punished as a collective for the actions of one person is highly concerning to the entire community of Fire supporters.

Sector Latino is an important and passionate part of Chicago Fire culture, and this unfair decision should not stand.

We encourage all Sirens to defend independent supporter groups and to consider how we can each communicate that resolve to the Fire organization and to other Fire fans (e.g. boycotts, memes, banners, phone campaigns, etc) – please share your ideas!

Free101

 

Second City Social Club

Second City Social Club Stands with Sector Latino & 101

The members of Second City Social Club are outraged by the front office’s reckless, draconian decision to ban Section 101. It is disappointing once again to see the front office choose excessive punitive measures rather than seeking more constructive solutions and engaging with supporters to resolve issues, or holding Monterrey Security accountable for their inability to do their jobs.

Sector Latino and Sector Musical are an essential part of the Chicago Fire supporter community. Their passion and contributions to the atmosphere are unparalleled. They are constantly innovating, creating new songs and chants, practicing with their instruments week in and week out, traveling 14 hours crammed in a van to sing loud and proud at away matches. Their talent, creativity and spirit make our community better. The presence of Sector and co. in Section 101 allows for loud, proud support for our Men in Red at both ends of the pitch, and for different styles and cultures of support to be proudly represented, which we hope you would respect as a club that claims to value diversity and inclusion.

Enacting a season-long ban on an entire section in this manner for the actions of a few is an overreaction, and one that only serves to harm the club’s relationship with its few remaining few die-hard supporters. And silencing the fans that are the loudest and proudest every week would, most of all, be a grave disservice to the players. We emphasize that we support the members of Sector Latino and additional groups to remain their own independent supporters section within Section 101, and resolve to take action to advocate for the reversal of this decision.

If the front office wants an example of what the club’s future will look like if they ban 101, we can look no further than the June 9th match against New England. The atmosphere was quiet, charmless, less a true club community and more a waystation for Grouponers and AYSO families. What reasonable club would want this?

Second City Social Club proudly stands with our family members in Section 101 and commits to acting in solidarity with our fellow supporters in response to this decision. Football without fans is nothing.

 

Logan’s Squares

We stand with #Free101 because it represents how supporters can band together. The sanctions that were imposed upon all season ticket holders in 101 could be applied to any section based on the actions of a few. Members of Logan’s Squares had their tickets revoked, because like many supporters groups, our members have tickets in many sections. Without concrete support a club is nothing.

 

Husaria

In the wake of recent sanctions against Sector Latino/101, and as fellow migrants, we find the Front Office’s attempt to hide behind the guise of “safety” farcical. Given the shortcomings of Monterrey Security, the Front Office, and MLS in past scenarios—including the labeling of Sector Latino as “criminals disguised as supporters” by MLS’s Senior Vice President of Operations and Security Ray Whitworth—these current actions must be seen for what they truly are, an attempt to homogenize fandom within Toyota Park at the expense of liquidating an independent group of Hispanic supporters. We truly believe that our strength as a community is wholly reliant on our diversity and autonomy as supporters of the Chicago Fire. As such, we cannot in good conscience continue to attend matches or renew season tickets in future years until this solution is resolved in such a way where it is impossible to view the Front Office and league’s actions as xenophobic and hostile to the immigrant roots of this great club. We stand in solidarity with Sector Latino/101 until they stand in justice back where they belong.

Serdecznie,

Husaria Kibice

 

Cider Cunts

Sector Latino is the pulse of our Chicago Fire community. We admire their tenacity, their unity, their ability to project the love and music for the Fire through the stadium and beyond. Through years of weakness, they’ve grown stronger – to show us all how to be better, how to truly live for the eleven men playing with our crest on their hearts.

 

Banter Buddies

Sector is and always will be dedication, devotion, and passion y locura. Noise, voices, mosh pits, and celebrations. Pure support. Each breath in each game is a slice of their love for the club. From 101 to Columbus to Seattle to wherever the Fire take them, en las buenas y en las malas, they are what we all aspire to be. They are so in love with this club that no loss or ban or hardship can ever stop them from supporting. They welcomed us in and made us feel like we were part of their family, right when we moved to 101. They represent the absolute best in fan support and are our Fire family.

 

Ultras Red Side

Ultras Red Side stands in solidarity with 101. We do not agree with a blanket cancellation of tickets and believe it sets a harmful precedent for future interactions between the supporters and the team. #Free101

 

Red Line SG

We’ve spent a lot of time making sure we understood exactly what brought us to this moment. Serious events have taken place and none of this is taken lightly. Protesting would mean giving up one of our greatest joys in life. To do so, we must stand on solid footing.

We strongly state that we are 100% against violence in supporter culture. The fight between SL and Houston supporters is inexcusable, despite the known history and unresolved issues between the groups.

However, the fight isn’t the main issue here. No one disputes its seriousness, but our understanding is that Sector has taken full responsibility for it and that the FO presented them a last-chance probation. The issue is that the chance given was not a fair one.

No one knows who lit the smoke bomb. The section is nominally for supporters and season ticket holders, but there is no enforcement of that. SL aren’t responsible for the actions of every person in 101, nor are they responsible for vetting entrants into 101 for contraband. The burden of proof for punishing an entire group, especially considering the seriousness of the punishment, must fall entirely and unequivocally on the FO. It is not on SL to identify perpetrators and prove they are not SL members.

The FO must establish proof that SL was responsible for the smoke bomb. Otherwise, banning an entire section of people who are trying to rectify wrongs and play by the rules, all because someone was drawn to the (hands-down best) atmosphere and lit off smoke is unacceptable. There is a valiant selection of people that have put a lot of time, passion, and money into this club, through quite the gauntlet of awful seasons and they deserve respect. This is not it.

101 should be reinstated. The FO should think about managing entrants into that section and/or adding more security, but SL has put so much quality energy into a sinking ship that they have earned the 2nd chance the FO has not actually given them.

We will not continue support in Toyota Park until this is rectified.

 

Local 134

Although Chicago Local 134 supports the Chicago Red Stars, we maintain a stake in the quality and culture of supporting for the Chicago Fire. Among Fire supporters we find teachers, we find and share resources, we find fellow Red Stars supporters, and we find friends. Our interactions with Sector Latino this year have demonstrated their commitment to constantly growing support for the Fire, and for soccer supporting in the city of Chicago. Early in the summer, Local 134 members were invited to come spend some time with Sector’s music section, teaching them our chants and learning some of their best practices for making noise in Toyota Park. They were welcoming, they were enthusiastic, and they were above all committed to the team they supported and to the job of supporting them. Their ban is an outright overreaction by the Chicago Fire front office that disregards the complexity of the situation and paints the group with a much broader brush than is appropriate. As a group that struggles each year to grow a strong culture of support for women’s soccer in Chicago, we understand the value of strong support for a team. Alienating an entire group of committed supporters is a mistake that will have a negative and lasting impact on the Chicago Fire.

Section 8 Chicago in the Community: #GivingForGoals & #SupportYourLocal

via Moria Dailey Nestmann 

Beyond a shared love of the Chicago Fire and the beautiful game, a dedication to helping our shared communities is something that can be found running strongly in the veins of our supporters groups. Here we highlight the efforts being made by members of our Fire community to support and give back to organizations near and dear to our hearts.

Second City Social Club (SC^2) and Logan’s Squares have chosen to celebrate Pride Month with a month-long, multifaceted Prideraiser to benefit Chicago’s El Rescate, the newest benefactor of their yearlong #GivingForGoals and #SupportYourLocal initiatives.

We talked with Reuben Hussman of the Second City Social Club and Jake Peters of Logan’s Squares to get some more information and find out how the rest of our community can become involved.

First, can you give us a brief history of your organization/supporters group:

Reuben Hussman: Second City Social Club kicked off back in 2015 as a small group of like-minded Fire Supporters who had been friends for a bit from our time in the Harlem End, but one extra initiative we had in mind was broadening our support to the communities we love beyond CF97. Knowing we all had our own Hobbies, Interests and Passions meant that we could coordinate within our group greater initiatives to be involved and spread our efforts of support beyond match day.

Jake Peters: In 2014 Logan’s Squares was born of a gap in our network of supporter bars. At the time the Logan Square community area had the largest number of Chicago Fire season ticket holders, but no bar where any of those fans could get together with one another to watch the game. Myself and a few of those fans scoped out a series of bars that barely gave us the time of day until we found out fellow fan Jay Eychaner was watching games at ‪Go Tavern‬ (3219 W. Armitage) where we found a home with a staff & owner who are as dedicated to this community as anyone.

Tell us about your community-building initiative:

RH: SC^2 has done a lot over the years to remain involved in all sorts of community building activities, and as mentioned we have a strong focus on doing so beyond match day. This year, we decided to highlight two matches a month on average (more in June) towards our #GivingForGoals campaign. What we do is find an organization whose work we love and pledge $50/Fire goal during that designated match towards them. Beyond that, we’ve been trying to get the word spread around what that organization means to us and how others can help. This campaign has taken our fundraising efforts throughout Chicago and beyond – where some of our targeted matches are Chicago Away matches, so it’s been really great coordinating fundraising campaigns for great organizations in other MLS cities with the help of those other teams’ supporters.

Jake Peters & Nate Cubeta outside of GO Tavern

JP: Having a local bar to gather has been entirely about building a community at a grassroots level. Everyone is welcome at Go (if you’re over 21) and we try to foster a space where fans can come to watch a game together even if they have a grudge against one another. Over the past 6 months, we have evolved that into efforts to raise money collectively for local causes. Credit is due to Juan Velasquez (our Silver Foxes rec soccer league captain), Dan Giroux (current ISA chairman & one of the first Squares), Nate Cubeta (current ISA Director of Marketing), & Jake Payne (current ISA Director of Communications). They have all guided this expansion in giving, identified groups, & come up with creative ways to raise these donations, whether through going to fundraisers w/ fellow fans (raising money for defending Chicagoan DACA recipients from ICE), or selling a “jersey sponsorship” for a charitable donation to The Young Center. This has culminated in the #SupportYourLocal button campaign as a way to build upon #GivingForGoals & other supporter-led initiatives, buttons have a long history in our community & this is merging that w/ local giving.

Continue reading “Section 8 Chicago in the Community: #GivingForGoals & #SupportYourLocal”

Section 8 in the Community: Prideraiser

via Moria Dailey Nestmann 

Beyond a shared love of the Chicago Fire and the beautiful game, a dedication to helping our shared communities is something that can be found running strongly in the veins of our supporters groups. Here we highlight the efforts being made by members of our Fire community to support and give back to organizations near and dear to our hearts.

2nd City Social ClubSecond City Social Club (SC^2) and Logan’s Squares have chosen to celebrate Pride Month with a month-long, multifaceted Prideraiser to benefit Chicago’s El Rescate. In addition to their yearlong #GivingForGoals initiative, join us at the June 9 tailgate (and following #90MinuteTailgate) to celebrate Pride, eat tamales, and support the vital community work done by El Rescate. (If you’re unable to attend the game or are protesting by not attending the game, you can donate to the fundraiser virtually too.)

We talked with Rueben Hussman of the Second City Social Club to get some more information and find out how the rest of our community can become involved.

First, can you give us a brief history of your organization/supporters group:

Second City Social Club kicked off back in 2015 as a small group of like-minded Fire Supporters who had been friends for a bit from our time in the Harlem End, but one extra initiative we had in mind was broadening our support to the communities we love beyond CF97. Knowing we all had our own Hobbies, Interests and Passions meant that we could coordinate within our group greater initiatives to be involved and spread our efforts of support beyond match day.

Tell us about your community-building initiative:

SC^2 has done a lot over the years to remain involved in all sorts of community building activities, and as mentioned we have a strong focus of doing so beyond match day. This year, we decided to highlight two matches a month on average (more in June) towards our #GivingForGoals campaign. What we do is find an organization whose work we love and pledge $50/Fire goal during that designated match towards them. Beyond that we’ve been trying to get the word spread around what that organization means to us and how others can help. This campaign has taken our fundraising efforts throughout Chicago and beyond – where some of our targeted matches are Chicago Away matches, so it’s been really great coordinating fundraising campaigns for great organizations in other MLS cities with the help of those other teams’ supporters.

Tell us how the rest of our community get involved with your initiative:

First and foremost – come out and say “hi” to a few of us this Saturday (June 9th) in the north lot where we’ll have a boatload of tamales to give out to the general community in exchange for a donation. That donation will go towards our ongoing #GivingForGoals initiative and this month’s PrideRaiser – which benefits the crucial work that El Rescate does out of Humboldt Park (seriously – go check them out!). We’re actually planning a 90 Minute Tailgate (#90MinuteTailgate) for this Saturday, which is some of our members’ reaction to sanctions placed on fellow supporters Sector Latino (and others who are in 101). If you are interested to hear why some of us are keeping ourselves in the lot on Saturday – stop by to get a tamale, support El Rescate and our general fundraising campaign, and let’s talk!

If you can’t make it Saturday – you can always check us out via Twitter (@2ndCitySC) or Facebook (Second City Social Club), and we try our best to be pushing out our campaigns there. We’d love to see anyone pledge funds towards these initiatives or to join us in our gatherings around town and with other organizations. Whether you are already a part of a supporters group, an independent, a casual Fire fan, or just interested in our initiatives – we’d love to hear from you and have you join us for some of our social events sometime soon!

I clearly remember as a newbie all those years back that it can be challenging to insert yourself in these things, but we’d just like to recommend anyone who is interested in what we are doing – or anything else that’s going on to just ask around a bit. You can do this through social media, in-person at matches or watch parties, or just by even inviting others to things that you are interested in. There are so many great communities that we feel lucky to be involved with, and each of them are constantly looking to grow – so jump in!

Per our earlier statement, Section 8 Chicago would like to welcome everyone to join us for the #90MinuteTailgate during Saturday’s match, where we will stand in solidarity with Section 101 while also supporting our Men in Red and celebrating Pride Night.

ISA Response to the banning of section 101.

The recent decision to issue a ticket cancellation to all ticket holders in section 101 is of great concern to the ISA. This community takes pride in our history as a club, and the supporters driven culture that this club was built upon. This culture is founded upon trust between the club and it’s supporters and this trust was breached by the Chicago Fire in their actions against all ticket holders in section 101.

While incidents of violence in supporters culture must be taken very seriously, this most recent incident was not linked to any incidents of violence and feels like a dramatic overreach by the club and only serves to erode the Fire’s most loyal base of supporters. In light of this action, Section 8 Chicago cannot, in good conscience, participate in any activities that 101 has been prohibited from doing. Tickets for the Harlem End will no longer be sold for the June 9th match against New England, and Section 8 Chicago will not be participating in organized support. Harlem End ticket holders can make their own decisions whether to attend the game or not, but the ISA will not provide the organized elements of support that the front office has taken for granted until this is resolved. Once again, we call upon MLS and the Fire front office to produce a list of infractions and punishments for supporters groups to establish the precedent for these actions.

We would also like to stress that our solidarity with section 101 in not contributing organized support to this game does not reflect our level of support for the players or the pride night events on June 9th. Section 8 Chicago is completely committed to our unwavering support of the LGBTQ+ community and anyone with a ticket to the game is still able to attend and support pride night. We will be looking into an appropriate date for Section 8 Chicago to be hosting our communities own pride night in the near future.

Below is the letter sent to both Sector Latino and Section 8 Chicago leadership to inform them of this decision.

Goose Island and Section 8 renew collaboration for 2018

Goose Island and Section 8 Chicago would like to officially announce the second installment of our community partnership, Keller 31. A follow up to last year’s initial collaboration, the 20th Anniversary Black Lager, this Kellerbier symbolizes an alliance between two like-minded organizations that are pioneers in their respective fields. An ode to Chicago Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, this unfiltered lager is a crisp, clean, no nonsense beer reminiscent of its namesake’s style of play. One of the oldest Bavarian styles will celebrate one of the most revered Bavarian players to ever take the field as he approaches what might be his final season on the pitch. Brewed utilizing a combination of Bavarian and Midwest Pilsen, Vienna, and Munich malts, German Hallertauer hops, and fermented with yeast from one of Munich’s great lager breweries, this Kellerbier brings together tradition, honor, and passion in a way recognizable to the Section 8 Chicago faithful and Goose Island drinkers alike. We are elated to share this special beer with you as Schweinsteiger’s testimonial approaches. It will be found at Section 8 Chicago partner bars starting August 27th, followed by a Chicagoland draft-only market release and a short stint at Toyota Park.

Sanctions on Away Supporter Privileges

We are disappointed to have been informed that all traveling Fire supporters will not receive away supporters privileges for the upcoming matches against NYRB and TFC. These privileges typically include the ability to bring flags, banners and instruments of any kind into the match.

These sanctions have come as a result of objects being thrown and damage to a bleacher bench that occurred during the MNUFC match on 3/17. Please see the letter below for details.

We are disappointed not to be able to support the Fire to our fullest in these matches, but still encourage Fire supporters to attend these matches with us regardless. If you are traveling to these matches and have questions about what these sanctions mean for you, please reach out to Director of Events Sean Callaghan for further information.

 

The Burning Black Fire

Written by Director of Communications, Jake Payne

I very vividly remember a time during the tailgate of a Chicago Fire game where I was standing in line for some tacos. I turned around when someone said “HEY” really loudly and I turned to see a white and black guy smiling at me.

The white guy said,”Look there’s the other black fan!”

The black fan and I laughed about it, shook hands, and that was about it. I don’t even think we got each other’s name.

Why did that short moment stick with me?

I love the Chicago Fire and the community that surrounds it. Some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met have been at Fire games. However, it doesn’t change that there was more truth than a joke in that statement. In my time of being a Fire fan, I’ve only met three other black fans in an entire stadium of people. It’s disappointing considering how global the game is and how much soccer is apart of so many different cultures. It might be hard to understand why this is a big deal. That’s something maybe we as a country don’t do enough of, understanding. So it might help to understand how the current fan atmosphere can make it difficult for other black fans.

Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire defender) and Jake Payne (Section 8 Chicago’s 2018 Director of Communications)

It’s similar to being an away fan, where you are constantly aware that you’re different, but you have pride that’s shared with the people around you. Except for us, there are not many people to share that pride within the supporters sections. I feel that Chicago has a huge opportunity to help that pride be celebrated with the Fire in a way that other leagues can’t, no other sport has the celebration of pride and culture like soccer. You can see it on constant display in banners and two poles, involving black fans in the celebration would mean the world and would be another way of preserving a culture. The city of Chicago is already so segregated, neighborhoods changing by the month, people’s cultures vanishing or being underappreciated, crystallizing that black culture into a supporters history that has proven to withstand time gives another chance to keep what is there. You can see that in the Polish influences that are ever present in Chicago Fire culture, and for other teams German and British influence. Sector Latino celebrates their own culture. I really haven’t seen that celebration anywhere for black fans.

Continue reading “The Burning Black Fire”

First Board Meeting of 2018

Schubas backroom, February 8th, 7pm

It’s time to get to work on the 2018 Season. Join the board at Schubas tavern next Thursday at 7pm. We will be discussing the financial status of the ISA, the long term goals of business license and trademarking, administrative tasks before the season starts, and planning the tifo for the home opener, among other topics. All Fire fans are invited to attend and participate.

Below you will the tentative agenda for this meeting.

NOTE: Agenda subject to change by time of meeting.

Agenda Items:

1. Approval of Agenda
Time: 5 minutes
Purpose: Decision
Leader: Dan

2. Financial Update
Time: 5 minutes
Purpose: Budget
Leader: Ryan

3. Legal Update
Time: 5 minutes
Purpose: Debrief, next steps
Leader: Dan

4. Update from team
Time: 10 minutes
Purpose: – Update on MLS Policy – Update of Fire Staffing – Opening day preperation – Munich Trip
Leader: Mike Ernst

5. Setting up new board members.
Time: 10 minutes
Purpose: Discuss what board members don’t have access to, who needs to be authorized for cards and what to do about business cards.
Leader: Dan

6. VC Update: Alumni meetup; Partnerships
Time: 5 Minutes
Purpose: Update
Leader: Nicole

7. Opening Day Tifo
Time: 10 minutes
Purpose: What supplies do we still need and what dates do we need to book?
Leader: Oliver

8. Merch Survey
Time: 10 minutes
Purpose: Discuss the results of the merch survey, in-progress projects and plans for merch in next few months. What items should be available for home opener and online store status.
Action: Need purchasing power via debit card
Due Date: 2/8
Leader: Nate

9. Bus for Tulsa Friendly
Time: 5 minutes
Purpose: Decision over whether we should and how we should run a bus to Toyota Park for the Tulsa Friendly on 3/3.
Leader: Nate/Sean

10. S8OT Update
Time: 10 minutes
Purpose: Update on the S8OT trips to Minnesota and Columbus
Leader: Sean

11. Watch Parties in 2018
Time: 10 Minutes
Purpose: Discuss how we would like to handle watch parties in 2018
Leader: Sean

12. South Side Bus
Time: 5 Minutes
Purpose: Discussion
Leader: Jake

13. Black History Month
Time: 5 Minutes
Purpose: Discussion
Leader: Jake

14. March into the Match
Time: 5 Minutes
Purpose: Discussion
Action: Need Ops meeting date/time and URS sign off for Tulsa friendly
Leader: Nate/Oliver