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.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.