It’s that season – the election is a month away! – where the events and emails will pile up and leave you overwhelmed.
But that’s no reason to disengage. Now we need you. And besides helping democracy function and the good guys win, it’s also fun.
We have several events coming up this week – and I’m focusing just on this week. Next week, there will be more … because it’s that time of year.
First, we’ll be phone banking on Tuesday, October 2, at the law office of member Anne Shaw, 540 W. Briar Place. We do have cell phones available for use, so if you sign up there will be a phone. Here is the Doodle poll that will let us know you’re coming: http://www.doodle.com/uyi6xr8yucnp3gy5
At the recommendation of Nate, a member of the NDFA steering committee, I created a petition calling for Mayor Emanuel to stop his annoying TV commercials trying to spin the teachers strike. I wrote the petition Sunday and by Tuesday morning it had 6,000+ signatures.
In my first email to people who signed the petition I asked them to visit the Northside DFA website to get a more detailed explanation of how NDFA fits into my vision for activism around Mayor Emanuel's bad behavior during and after contract negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union. Remember, Mayor Emanuel was behaving badly throughout the negotiation process.
To resist the attempts by Mayor Emanuel and his financial backers--mostly banks who want to turn government into something the capital class can invest in--we need to be organized.
Last Tuesday, we voted to endorse in a few races – one of which has an important event, tomorrow, Saturday, September 15.
NDFA voted to support the CTU’s strike. We hope the strike ends soon with a fair contract, but while the teachers are on strike we stand with them. One of the benefits of the strike has been an active public discussion on the Board of Education’s plans for our city schools – and on the teachers’ true concerns over their working conditions and their struggles to educate our children city-wide.
We’ve decided that voting member credit will be given to those who walk a picket line with the teachers, or who attend one of their rallies. One activity credit can earned this way (the other two must come from campaign-related activities).
On Tuesday, NDFA members voted to support the CTU teachers in their strike. Voting members not present were given 24 hours to vote via email, and as that deadline has now passed, the measure passed overwhelmingly.
We voted to give "voting member credit" to members who either stand on a picket line with teachers, or attend a rally. One action is eligible for credit (we still want you to work on elections!).
We hope the strike ends soon with a fair contract, but we applaud the teachers who have managed to shed light on the Mayor's plans for education, and on the issues facing teachers in CPS as they struggle to educate our children.
On August 14, Ram Villivalam, the political director of Brad Schneider's congressional campaign spoke to a crowded room (about 60 people) at the Lincoln Restaurant.
In an email after the presentation Ram said he wanted to make the following points.
1. There are three huge policy differences between Brad and Congressman Dold
-Brad is 100% for marriage equality while Dold is only in support of civil unions
-Brad will protect our Great Lake, fight Republican attempts to defund the EPA, and stress the urgency to use renewable sources of energy. Brad has been endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters. Congressman Dold has an F from the Sierra Club.
-Brad is the only 100% pro-choice candidate and has been endorsed by NARAL Pro Choice America. Congressman Dold voted to defund Planned Parenthood 6 times.
2. The district is completely different from 2010.
I’ve been on vacation, and didn’t watch one little tiny bit of the Republican convention – other things were way more important. I did read about it on various blogs, which seemed about the appropriate level of engagement for me – unlike the friend of my mother’s, who spent the week yelling at her TV and raising her blood pressure. Got home tonight from watching “No Impact Man” to see a little bit of Mayor Castro’s speech, and all of Michelle Obama’s speech … and am really glad I did, if only to have it pointed out on national TV “Truth matters.” So often forgotten by our national media: yes, truth does matter – it matters inherently, but it also matters when it comes to the policies that are labeled one thing but will deliver the opposite. It matters when candidates lie: and it’s the job of journalists to know when they are lying and call them out on it.
At our August monthly meeting, we heard from Wendy Katten from Raise Your Hand, speaking about the importance of parents’ voices in decisions about the CPS, and what RYH has accomplished so far. Next up, Ram Villivalam from Brad Schneider’s campaign spoke about the importance of the race in the 10th Congressional District, and took questions on Schneider’s policy positions. There will be a follow-up blog post on the Schneider campaign this week, so look for that on the NDFA website (http://www.northsidedfa.com/): we’d like to start the discussion before next month’s meeting. The last speaker was Carl Wasco, who is running for state representative in the Rockford area, in the 68th district. Next month, we’ll discuss endorsing Schneider and Wasco.
It’s August, the Olympics are on, the national political scene is full of lies and distortions (mostly from the other side … ), and in the state we watch as the dysfunction that serves us as normal continues with no signs of abating. But there are people out there who are working to counter the negativity, and it’s time to check with a few them who are trying to make a difference.
At our next monthly meeting on Tuesday, August 14, we’ll hear from two working on issues critical to our community and two brave enough to run for the General Assembly:
Wendy Katten, from Raise Your Hand (http://ilraiseyourhand.org/), will speak about the ongoing contract negotiations between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union... and the possibility of a strike, as well as the CPS issues RYH has identified as critical.
It looks like you can have alot of fun at a Progressive fundraiser, after all! For more pictures from "Small Change for BIG Change 2012" at Uncommon Ground, visit our Facebook page. And, it's still not to late to donate at Act Blue
It was great to see so many of you at the fundraiser Monday: a little bit of money goes a long way with us, and we’re grateful for all that you give. To those who donated, gave silent auction items, and spent their valuable time making the event a success: thanks!
At our last meeting we heard from Reps. Greg Harris and Ann Williams, who spoke eloquently about the Legislative session and the state’s budget woes (and the woes of those trying to come up with solutions to the budgetary problems). We also heard from Will Guzzardi, who spoke about the effort to put a referendum for an elected school board on the ballot: Chicago is the only municipality in the state with a school board appointed by the Mayor. Do the millionaires appointed to the school board really understand and serve the needs of Chicago public school students?
Meanwhile, upcoming events to put on your calendar: