On Friday, I read the article that would almost immediately throw my life into upheaval and challenge me in ways I didn’t realize. That article was in Timeout Chicago, saying that eccentric Greek billionaire Alki David would give $250,000 to anyone who streaked Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
After reading it, I thought, “I can help fund a lot of projects fighting for social justice in Chicago with $250,000.” Immediately, my friend and I stopped everything to go find Rahm. We drove around his neighborhood, waited near his house hoping he’d come home. In the many hours we spent casually waiting in the car, we searched for all the info on David’s dare. We found a few articles on it, including Timeout Chicago, Boston Sun-Times and National Sun-Times. Having fully understood the stated criteria for David’s bet, we even popped by Rahm’s at 5 am hoping to catch him during one of his morning runs. But there was no sign of Rahm.
At the Chicago LGBT Pride Parade Sunday, I snuck my way to the start of the march. Right at noon, I saw him get out of his car – he was standing about 20 feet away from me. I took my shorts off from under my sundress and walked towards him, trying to figure out how I was going to streak him and take a video at the same time, since at this point I was on a solo mission.
As I walked up to him, the Chicago Pride Parade had started, so I just started walking with the Emanuel family. I’m staring out at the sea of rainbow-clad people celebrating and all i can think is, “What do I say when someone asks me who I am or why I’m marching with Rahm and his family at Pride?” I have to say, I had some ridiculous ideas … but no one ever asked me. I just kept marching, awkwardly waving and clapping along with Rahm, hoping that I looked like I belonged – and that a cop wouldn’t recognize me from all my activism.
This whole time, I was still trying to figure out how I could shoot a video, get my dress off and streak Rahm all in the few seconds that I would have before his personal body guards grabbed me. I couldn’t think of a way.
Rahm’s family and I made our way toward the end of the parade, and I was convinced I had lost my opportunity. Then all of a sudden, some older guy grabbed Rahm’s hand (and body guards’ attention) and I had my chance. I set my phone to record, took my dress off, and ran towards Rahm. And boy was he pissed! I was right next to him when I started getting pushed all different ways and shoved into Rahm’s giant SUV. But – I had streaked Mayor 1%! I had completed Alki David’s dare! I had earned $250,000 for social justice!
After we uploaded the videos and started notifying news outlets, I couldn’t help but notice the deafening silence from Alki David. He didn’t congratulate me, he didn’t reach out. There was nothing but a few strangely taunting tweets from someone named PimpinGimp, who defended David’s criteria, even though I followed all of the requirements that David had posted. When David tweeted about the $250,000 dare he retweeted news articles which said, “Billionaire offering $250,000 to anyone who streaks Rahm Emanuel.”
Nowhere, in any article or any tweet, were other criteria listed. Everywhere it said I just needed to streak Rahm.
However, according to Chicagoist, his management company said I didn’t fulfill some requirements – such as writing “Battlecam” on my chest and screaming “Battlecam” (the name of a movie he’s promoting) – even though he never stated them in any of the publicly available articles or tweets. If Alki David had other criteria, he should have stated them in his tweets or clarified when sharing the articles. He didn’t do any of that. Nowhere does it say I needed to do anything other than streak the mayor.
I risked arrest and a potentially expensive ticket or jail time because I thought of all the awesome causes that could be funded with $250,000. My goals are to bond people out of jail; donate to various activist groups that need the money, like the National Lawyers Guild and People’s Law Office; and fund the fight for justice here in Chicago. But as of right now, Alki isn’t paying up.
This billionaire gets to make these “bets,” get all the publicity around the bet, watch people take great risks to call his bet, and then keep the money. Now, through not paying, he is getting even more publicity, as some people on social media try to hold him accountable to his word. If he did this to promote himself or his movie in the first place, he has actually gotten more press than he would’ve had I written something on my chest.
I would hope that David will stand by his word and pay up. It’s the right thing to do, plus he’s a billionaire, and the social media impact of my completing David’s dare has generated a whole lot of publicity for him and his movie. The $250,000 is pocket change to him, but it will mean a lot of really awesome projects that will change life in Chicago finally have funding. It will literally mean freedom for many people through the Chicago Community Bond Fund.
So if you’re Alki David, pay up! And if you’re not, please help put public pressure on Alki David to get him to pay up! Tweet him @alkiDavid & tell him to #payupAlki.