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Blog: Illinois Rights at Work Lifting Up Middle Class Families

By William McNary

Full Text of Presentation to Tenth Dems

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

 INTRODUCTION

(William McNary reading from that day’s Chicago Tribune:)

 

“Strife clouds Governor’s Day at state fair

Battles with unions, lawmakers follow Rauner at festival

Springfield – Republicans celebrate their first Governor’s Day in more than a dozen years at the Illinois State Fair on Wednesday, but an ongoing political and budget impasse may provoke a sharp response from Democrats.

Rauner has included union-weakening demands in a variety of legislation, including a state budget, pensions, and a bailout for Chicago Public Schools.  The governor also has suggested that approval of the anti-union agenda is a prerequisite for his support for more state revenue to balance the budget.

Rauner has promised to use his wealth and assistance from his allies to help bankroll Republican candidates who supports what he calls his ‘Turnaround Agenda’ against Democratic incumbents and reluctant Republican officeholders.”[1]

GOVERNOR RAUNER IS QUICK TO POINT THE BLAME FOR OUR STATE’S FISCAL WOES ON UNIONS.

HE HAS PROPOSED WHAT HE CALLS A TURNAROUND AGENDA.

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BUT LET’S BE CLEAR, ATTACKING THE MIDDLE CLASS WILL NOT PRODUCE PROSPERITY.

AND DR. RAUNER’S SNAKE OIL PRESCRIPTIONS TO CURE ILLINOIS’ FISCAL WOES ARE BAD MEDICINE.

HE PROPOSES TO CUT PROGRAMS THAT ASSIST INJURED AND DISPLACED WORKERS.

HE PLACES A TARGET ON PROGRAMS AND INVESTMENTS FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS

  • UNDERCUTTING WAGES AT THE LOCAL LEVEL WITH RIGHT TO WORK (OR AS WE CALL IT THE RIGHT TO WORK FOR LESS)
  • SLASHING WORKERS COMPENSATION FOR THE INJURED
  • CUTTING THE PREVAILING WAGE – THE LOCAL WAGE LEVELS SET FOR TRADE WORKERS
  • REPEALING PROJECT LABOR AGREEMENTS, CONTRACTS THAT GUARANTEE UNDER BUDGET AND ON TIME PUBLIC WORKS PROJECTS FOR TAXPAYERS

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING LIFTS ALL WORKING FAMILIES.

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STATES WITH MORE UNION MEMBERS HAVE A HIGHER STANDARD OF LIVING

  • THEY MAKE MONEY
  • HAVE BETTER BENEFITS
  • LESS POVERTY
  • LESS INFANT MORTALITY
  • LOWER WORKPLACE FATALITIES
  • AND THEY INVEST MORE IN EDUCATION

LET ME READ FROM THIS REPORT FROM A RECENT REPORT FROM MOODY’S ANALYTICS WHICH WAS PREPARED FOR THE ILLINOIS COMMISSION ON GOVERNMENT FORECASTING AND ACCOUNTABILITY.

IT BEGINS “ILLINOIS’ BUSINESS CLIMATES OUTSHINES ITS REGIONAL RIVALS.”

THIS 41 PAGE DOCUMENT IS A REALISTIC, DATA-HEAVY ANALYSIS OF ILLINOIS’ STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES, A BALANCED PICTURE THAT RUNS COUNTER TO THE GOVERNOR’S “DEATH SPIRAL” NARRATIVE.

ILLINOIS IS INDEED ONE OF THE COUNTRY’S MOST FINANCIALLY TROUBLED STATE, BUT NOT BECAUSE OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNIONS AS RAUNER WOULD HAVE FOLKS BELIEVE,

NOR THE REQUIREMENT THAT WORKERS WHO CHOOSE NOT TO JOIN A UNION HAVE TO PAY FAIR SHARE FEES TO HELP COVER THER COSTS OF THE BARGAINING AND REPRESENTATION RESPONSIBILITIES UNIONS HAVE TO ALL WORKERS,

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FEES THAT RAUNER TERMED A CRITICAL COG IN THE CORRUPT BARGAINING ROCESS THAT IS CRUSHING TAXPAYERS.

INSTEAD, MOODY’S SAID, THE STATE’S BIGGEST HEADACHE AND THE GREATEST THREAT TO ECONOMIC GROWTH ARE ITS BUDGETARY WOES, CREATED OVER DECADES OF FISCAL MISMANGEMENT BY PREVIOUS GOVERNORS AND LEGISLATURES, RESULTING IN A BUDGET THAT HAS BEEN UNBALANCED AND UNSUSTAINABLE FOR MANY YEARS.

WHAT ABOUT RAUNER’S OBSESSION WITH RIGHT-TO-WORK?  SINCE LAWS THAT HURT UNIONS SHIFT THE BALANCE OF POWER FROM EMPLOYEES TO OWNERS, THEY TEND TO ERODE WAGES AND LEAD TO A MORE UNEVEN DISTRIBUTION OF THE GAINS OF ECONOMIC GROWTH.

EVEN IF THE IMPACT OF RIGHT-TO-WORK LAWS IS POSITIVE IN THE SHORT RUN, IT CAN DIMINISH OVER TIME BECAUSE OF THE DOWNWARD PRESSURE ON INCOMES.

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MOODY’S BOTTOM LINE?

ILLINOIS HAS A LOT OF WHAT BUSINESSES NEED TO THRIVE

  • A HUGE TALENT POOL OF HIGHLY SKILLED WORKERS
  • WORLD CLASS UNIVERSITIES
  • MORE MONEY FOR INVESTMENT
  • BETTER TRANSPORTATION (AIRPORTS WITH DIRECT CONNECTIONS AROUND THE GLOBE AND THE COUNTRY’S TOP RAIL HUB)

BUT FISCAL REFORMS ARE NEEDED BEFORE IT CAN FULLY CAPITALIZE ON THESE STRENGTHS.  SO PERHAPS ILLINOIS WOULD BE BETTER SERVED IF RAUNER FOCUSED ON THE REFORMS (NOT JUST SPENDING CUTS, BUT NEW REVENUES) RATHER THAN THE UNION BASHING.  THEN THE STATE MIGHT BE ON ITS WAY TO A REAL TURNAROUND.[2]

Next week, on August 28, it will be 52 years ago that the momentous 1963 March on Washington took place. It was at this March where Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his most famous and most celebrated speech; one of the best speeches ever given in American history.

People so identified Dr. King with the “I Have a Dream” speech that some see him as merely some casual dreamer.  And that becomes very easy to understand if you’re younger than 47.

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Everybody in this room that is younger than 47 years old, stand up.  Give a hand to the young, energetic leaders of the Progressive Movement.  Thank you for standing.  You may be seated.

I had you stand to make a point.  The only thing that those who stood know about King is what you’ve seen on old TV news clips.  Or what you’ve heard on radio or recordings.  Or what you’ve read in history books.

I was fortunate enough to be around when King was alive.  It was 47 years ago last April 4th when Dr. King was gunned down as he stood on a balcony at the very young age of 39.

ABOUT THE SAME AGE AS REV. CLEMENTE PINCKNEY IN SOUTH CAROLINA WHO PRESIDENT OBAMA SO MOVINGLY EULOGIZED IN JUNE.

PINCKNEY AND EIGHT MEMBERS OF HIS CONGREGATION WERE GUNNED DOWN IN HIS CHURCH.  REV.PINCKNEY WAS 41.

But as we reflect on and commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, let us remember that he not only inspired us, but he marched for his beliefs.  He sat-in for his beliefs.  In Alabama, he went to jail for his beliefs.  In Chicago, he was hit in the head with a rock for his beliefs.  And in Memphis on a hotel balcony, he was assassinated for his beliefs.

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I’m merely pointing out that Dr. King was not just some idealistic dreamer; he fought to make his dreams a reality.  He was a gallant fighter for civil rights and we all know that there would not be a Civil Rights Act or a Voting Rights Act without his leadership.

Now I’m going to tell you about the very last fight that Dr. King fought was the fight to unionize garbage workers in Memphis.  The reason he was in Memphis was to support underpaid city garbage workers who were demanding that the city recognize their right to organize and join a union.

Dr. King once said, “Too many people of good will have never connected bigotry with economic exploitation.  They have deplored prejudice, but tolerated or ignored economic injustice.  But these two evils have a malignant kinship.”

You see, Dr. King understood that we cannot have racial justice without economic justice.  King understood that you cannot have civil rights without labor rights.

If our country is supposed to be a democracy and not a corporate state, its people must have freedom.

And not just freedom of speech or freedom of religion or freedom of assembly.  But freedom from hunger, freedom from lack, freedom from poverty.

Thus one definition of democracy is shared prosperity.   The promise of America should be for everyone, not just the wealthy few.  In other words, “Labor and the Community Working Together! We all do better when we ALL do better!”

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Those garbage workers worked hard for low pay.  Dangerous working conditions.  Abusive supervisors.  They had jobs, but they didn’t have dignity.  The garbage workers carried signs that said “I Am A Man.”

And that is what this struggle is about.

UNIONS ARE ONE OF THE KEYS TO DEMOCRACY.  THE RIGHT OF PEOPLE TO PEACEABLY ASSEMBLE NOT JUST IN THE POLITICAL PROCESS BUT IN THE WORKPLACE AS WELL.

UNIONS ALSO GIVE WORKING PEOPLE A VOICE IN THE POLITICAL PROCESS.  AND THAT’S PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT IN A POLITICAL SYSTEM INCREASINGLY DOMINATED BY WEALTHY DONORS AND CORPORATE GIVERS.

EVEN WITH THAT, BUSINESS AND CORPORATIONS OUTSPEND LABOR 10 TO 1.

GOVERNOR RAUNER SPENT MORE OF HIS OWN MONEY ON HIS ONE RACE FOR GOVERNOR THAN ALL OF THE TOP LABOR UNIONS SPENT ON THE LAST 4 GOVERNOR’S RACES.[3]

Now, I’m a firm believer in anti-poverty programs.  But one of the most successful anti-poverty programs in this country has been the labor union movement.  It has lifted more African-Americans and people of color from poverty to the middle-class than any other anti-poverty program.

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According to the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability’s report “The State of Working Illinois,” both African-American and Latino union members have weekly wages that are 23% higher than their non-union counterparts.  Women union members earn 26% more than women that are non-union.

But these are not just about statistics or numbers on a page.  Let me tell you a story of an African-American man who left Tennessee to come to Chicago in the 1950s where he met and married a woman who had come to Chicago from Alabama.  They gave birth to five children.  One child died when he was two days old.

The father worked two to three jobs, so he could provide for his wife and four kids.  He moved furniture.  He drove a delivery truck.  He drove a cab.  He delivered pizzas.  He was very seldom spent time with his kids and he was always tired when he came home.  He went to bed late and he got up early.

One day, a friend told him about a job at a factory on Kostner Avenue in Chicago.  He was lucky enough to get that job and he worked hard for eight hours every day helping to produce one of the finest bicycles in the world; a Schwinn Bicycle.

And because it was a union job, he not only got a decent wage; he got health insurance benefits for himself and his family.  And he began to spend more time with his family and his four children.

And he took his family to the annual company picnic where one of his sons would always win the eating contest whether it was the cherry or blueberry pie eating contest.

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And he gave his family a middle-class way of life which allowed his oldest son to be the first one in the history of his family to ever attend college.  That man was my dad and I am his oldest son.  (By the way, it was my brother Fred who won the pie eating contests).  But all four of us got to attend college).

The building blocks of a middle class lifestyle

  • Allowing a father to spend quality time with his family
  • Giving his children opportunities that he never had
  • The ability to live a meaningful and fulfilling life

Rested squarely on the back of a strong labor union contract.

It is time we renewed our commitment to good jobs for everyone in America.  We all do better when we ALL do better!

But make no mistake my Sisters and Brothers; labor is under attack like never before.  But this is not just an attack on the labor union movement; it is an attack on the middle class.  It’s an attack on our democracy.

So if we are to move to a more just Illinois, a more just America, we must win over the hearts and minds of the people.  And this battle is bigger than just scoring political points.  This is bigger than partisan politics.  This is a battle for the soul of our nation.

About whether we reduce this to how much money I made in the last 5 minutes and how much can I make in the next five.  I got mine, you get yours!  Or whether we reaffirm the basic American ideal that yes we are responsible for ourselves, but we are also responsible for each other.  I am my brother’s keeper.  I am my sister’s keeper.

We all do better when we ALL do better!

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And if we are to overcome America’s mistrust of government and change America’s priorities, we must firmly believe in our ability to

  • Organize for change
  • To organize for power
  • To organize for democracy

For if we are to achieve this just and noble goal this can’t just be about we are to the left of America and we are

  • Righter
  • Smarter
  • Better
  • And purer than everybody else.

We have to see ourselves in the center of people’s lives because that’s where we are; that’s where we live.  It is not us; it is our politics that is currently off-center.

So let me suggest that we stop feeding into people’s cynicism about government’s ability to serve people.  A little cynicism is healthy.  Too much cynicism kills people’s spirits. It kills people’s hopes.

If conservatives hate government in theory and progressives hate it in practice, is there any wonder that we can’t get people excited about paying taxes.

The reason that people don’t like government is that they don’t see it helping them or their neighbors enough.  There’s a lot of talk in Springfield and DC about values.

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Well we have a values based document in government and it’s called a budget.  It set’s our state’s, it sets our nation’s priorities.

“FOR WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS, THERE SHALL YOUR HEART BE ALSO.”

AND WHEN GOVERNMENT SETS THE WRONG PRIORITIES, IT’S THE PEOPLE WHO PAY THE PRICE.

Earlier this year, the Republican controlled House of Representatives voted on a budget that was balanced on the backs of seniors, students, the disabled, the middle class, the working poor.

It cut spending for

  • Medicare and Medicaid
  • Meals on Wheels for Seniors
  • Child Care and Head Start
  • K-12 Education and School Lunches
  • College Student Loans and Food Stamps
  • Employment Training Programs
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • The Low Income Energy Assistance Program
  • Housing Subsidies
  • Domestic Violence Prevention Programs
  • Health Research
  • Money to Local Governments

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It cut $5 Trillion from these programs over the next 10 years while preserving the tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.  They voted to give the Pentagon more money than they asked for.

The conference agreement passed Speaker Boehner’s House on April 30, 2014 by a vote of 226 – 197.  No Democrats voted for it.  All but 14 Republicans voted against it.  Congressman Robert Dold was not one of the 14, he voted for it.  Some of those 14 said they voted against it because it didn’t cut enough.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

ONE OF THE SINGLE, MOST IMPORTANT PROGRESSIVE POLICIES TO RETAIN AND CREATE JOBS HERE IN ILLINOIS IS TO PASS TAX REFORMS THAT RAISE ENOUGH REVENUES TO ADEQUATELY FUND PUBLIC SERVICES,

BOTH THOSE PROVIDED BY THE GOVERNMENT AND THOSE DEPENDENT ON PUBLIC SUPPORT.

HERE IS A TALE OF TWO MIDWESTERN GOVERNORS.  A STORY OF TWO CONFLICTING VISIONS ON HOW TO RUN STATE GOVERNMENT.

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IT TURNS OUT THAT THE MANUFACTURING JOBS AREN’T PAYING WHAT THEY USED TO ANYMORE, AND A BIG CHUNK OF THAT IS BECAUSE OF THE

DE-UNIONIZATION THAT HAS OCCURRED.

MARC LEVINE – DIRECTOR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE CENTER FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SAID REVERSING THE TREND WOULD REQUIRE RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE TO A LIVING WAGE AND RESTORING UNION WORKERS ABILITY TO ENGAGE IN COLLECTIVE BARGAINING.

IN WISCONSIN, WE’VE OBVIOUSLY GONE THE OPPOSITE WAY OVER THE LAST 3 OR 4 YEARS, LEVINE SAID.  ACT 10 TOOK AWAY THE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING RIGHTS FOR PUBLIC EMPLOYEES AND THE RATE OF UNIONIZATION IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR HAS COMBINED BY HALF IN THE STATE.

AND WE JUST PASSED A RIGHT-TO-WORK LAW AND RIGHT-TO-WORK STATES TEND TO HAVE LOWER WAGES.  THESE SORTS OF POLICIES ARE PUSHING US IN THE WRONG DIRECTION.[4]

THAT’S WISCONSIN UNDER GOVERNOR SCOTT WALKER.

NOW LET’S GO TO MINNESOTA.  THIS BILLIONAIRE GOVERNOR TAXED THE RICH AND INCREASED THE MINIMUM WAGE – NOW, HIS STATE’S ECONOMY IS ONE OF THE BEST IN THE COUNTRY.

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WHEN HE TOOK OFFICE IN JANUARY 2011, GOVERNOR MARK DAYTON INHERITED A $6.2 BILLION BUDGET DEFICIT AND A 7% UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FROM HIS SUCCESSOR TIM PAWLENTY.

DURING HIS 1ST FOUR YEARS IN OFFICE, GOVERNOR DAYTON RAISED THE STATE INCOME TAX ON INDIVIDUALS MAKING OVER $150,000 AND COUPLES MAKING OVER $250,000.

HE ALSO RAISED MINNESOTA’S MINIMUM WAGE AND PASSED A STATE LAW GUARANTEEING EQUAL PAY FOR WOMEN.

AND THE NAYSAYERS PREDICTED THAT BUSINESSES WOULD LEAVE.  BUT BETWEEN 2011 AND 2015, GOVERNOR DAYTON ADDED 172,000 NEW JOBS TO THE ECONOMY – 165,800 MORE JOBS IN HIS 1ST TERM THAN PAWLENTY ADDED IN BOTH OF HIS TERMS COMBINED.

MINNESOTA NOW HAS THE 5TH LOWEST UNEMPLOYMENT RATE AT 3.6%.

MINNNESOTA’S WORKING FAMILIES HAVE A MEDIAN INCOME $8,000 HIGHER THAN THE U.S. AVERAGE.

MINNESOTA’S PRIVATE SECTOR JOB-GROWTH EXCEEDED PRE-RECESSION LEVELS; IT’S THE 5TH FASTEST-GROWING ECONOMY IN THE U.S.

FORBES RANKED MINNESOTA, THE 9TH BEST STATE FOR BUSINESS.

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DESPITE FEARMONGERING OVER BUSINESSES LEAVING THE STATE, 6,230 MORE MINNESOTANS FILED IN THE TOP INCOME BRACKET.

MINNESOTA NOW HAS A $1 BILLION BUDGET SURPLUS.

GOVERNOR DAYTON IS PUTTING A THIRD OF THAT MONEY INTO PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

GOVERNOR DAYTON IS NOT SOME CLASS WARRIOR DRIVEN BY A DESIRE TO GET BACK AT THE 1%.  HE’S A BILLIONAIRE HEIR TO THE TARGET STORES FORTUNE.

HE WAS DRIVEN BY SIMPLE MATH.  RAISING TAXES ON THOSE WHO CAN AFFORD TO PAY WILL TURN A DEFICIT INTO A SURPLUS.

RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE WILL INCREASE THE MEDIAN INCOME.

AND IN A STATE WHERE EDUCATION IS A BUDGET PRIORITY AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IS ONE OF THE HIGHEST IN THE NATION, IT ONLY MAKES SENSE THAT MORE BUSINESSES WOULD STAY.[5]

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America is still the richest country in the world.  Our economy is 10 times bigger than China.  We need to renew the basic contract between

  • Government, Business, Labor & Community

That shares America’s wealth & prosperity and put’s its people back to work.

For ultimately, the economy is not just something that happens to us.

It’s something we make together based on the values we share.  Look, a strong middle class doesn’t happen by accident, it was built brick by brick.  By soldiers returning home from the war and a government that took seriously their obligation to them and provided:

  • The GI Bill
  • Housing
  • Education
  • Jobs

American businesses that hired American workers and needed a well-educated workforce.  And it was built by labor unions who gave us

  • A 40 Hour Work Week
  • An End To Child Labor
  • Paid Vacations
  • Wages That Were Once The Envy Of the World

Good jobs are created when every working man and every working woman has the right to join together and bargain for a voice at work.

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You see, they can only win if they divide us

  • Black against White
  • Citizens against Immigrants
  • Union Workers against Non-Union Workers
  • Straight Against Gay

How cruel.  How cynical.  How divisive.

Let us recommit ourselves to knitting that inescapable garment of destiny that Dr. King talked about.  Where what affects one of us, affects all of us.  Because we are all a part of the same community and we all pay a price when there is injustice in that community.

My recently deceased Brother Julian Bond put it this way:  “The humanity of all Americans is diminished when any group is denied rights granted to others.”  (Pest in peace, Brother.  You will be missed.)

We must move together and not be divided and conquered.

Or first they’ll come after the public employees.

Then they’ll come after the private employees.

Then they’ll come after the Progressives.

Then they’ll come after the Democrats.

And they’ll keep coming until there’s no democracy left.

It’s time we used our strength in numbers so that we can all share in the American dream.  In America, your success should depend upon

  • Your Talent
  • Your Hard Work
  • Your Contributions To Your Community

When will we stop rewarding this pure, unadulterated greed?

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Let us use all of the resources at our command to rebuild, restore & re-establish America as a Great Nation.

A country that works for all of us.  It’s time to go to work putting America back to work. We all do better, when we ALL do better!

Lastly, I was brought up Baptist, I close more than once but this is my final close.

People have this romantic view of social justice movements.  Take the Civil Rights Movement.  If you have a romantic view you’ll think Rosa Parks sat on the front of the bus, Martin Luther King gave a speech and then black people got free.  Come on now.  That discounts the 1,000s and 1,000s of people of all races

  • Who struggled too valiantly
  • Who bled too profusely
  • Who died too prematurely

For freedom’s cause.

For we know that lasting social change will not be made by heroes or sheroes.  Not by Supermen or Wonder Women.  Lasting social change will only.  History will only be made the only way history has ever been made:  when ordinary people get in motion; natural men and natural women.

I asked Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky’s Chief of Staff Cathy Hurwit what advice I should give y’all and she said tell them to keep doing what they’re doing, but step it up a notch.

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So Sisters and Brothers, I need you to put a little extra in your ordinary and a little super in your natural.

But you all have to do the hard, unglamorous, day-to day work of

  • Learning the facts
  • Educating your members
  • Educating your neighbors
  • IDing those who are on your side
  • Getting them to come out and vote
  • Supporting those who are on your side
  • Fighting against those who are not

Let’s go all in!  I need y’all to have the courage to stand on the front side of history and help to change it.

On October 5, 2011, the whole world mourned the death of one of America’s true geniuses.  Steve Jobs literally changed the way we communicate with each other.   How we use computers.  How we listen to music.  He turned what looked like an abandoned business office into one of the most valuable companies in the world worth $342 billion.  He was truly an extraordinary man.

But on that very same day that this extraordinary man died, another ordinary man died in Alabama.  He was a truck driver.  A cement worker.  He was a bootlegger.  Got arrested for selling moonshine.  He redeemed himself and became a minister.  He became active in the NAACP.  When they outlawed the NAACP in Alabama, he started another organization dedicated to ending segregation through non-violence.

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In the early 60s, he and other protestors were attacked with dogs and fire hoses.  When he announced that he would challenge the segregation of buses in Montgomery, one Christmas day 15 sticks of dynamite exploded beneath his bedroom window; the floor was blown out from under him.  When he tried to enroll his children in a white school, the Ku Klux Klan with chains, baseball bats and brass knuckles beat him unconscious.  His wife was stabbed in the hip.

The leader of the organization he founded called him “the most courageous civil rights fighter in the South.”  The organization was the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.  The leader who said it was the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The man who died on the same day as Steve Jobs was Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, an ordinary man.  But he did extraordinary things for the cause of freedom.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and Steve Jobs became famous and rightfully so.  King once said, “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.”  Every day I say a prayer: “Thank you GOD for my freedom.  Allow me never to be any man or women’s slave, but allow me to be every man and every woman’s servant.”  Men and women can make people famous, but as for us let us not seek fame, let us seek greatness.  I know times are tough, but we’re tough people and we’ve been through tougher times before.  Let us climb out of our valley of despair and climb up the rough side of the mountain of hope and look over and see and then work for a better society.

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For I do not believe that America’s riches lie in its rich mineral resources or in its tall skyscrapers that pierce the skies or in its  corporate bank accounts.  The true wealth of America lies in the hearts of the American people.  And so we will save the soul of our democracy

  • Neighbor to neighbor
  • Eyeball to eyeball
  • Heart to heart

So let the record reflect that on this day Wednesday, August 19, 2015, a group of

  • justice-seeking,
  • truth-telling,
  • peace loving,
  • critical thinking,
  • problem solving
  • hell-raising
  • freedom-loving advocates and activists came together to rededicate themselves to the fight for justice and to work for
    • toward a Beloved Community, a more inclusive America that:
      • creates good paying jobs,
      • educates our children,
      • tends to our sick,
      • pays our bills,
      • saves our planet,
      • and protect the middle class and those struggling to get into the middle class.
      • And studies war no more.

Labor and Community Working Together!  We all do better when we ALL do better!  In the spirit of Dr. King, in the spirit of Julian Bond, let’s get to work!

[1] From Chicago Tribune Article by Rick Pearson and Monique Garcia, 8/19/2015

[2] From Illinois Issues, “Chronic Mismanagement Drove State Into Its Fiscal Mess” by Charles N. Wheeler III, 3/1/2015

[3] From Citizen Action/Illinois Blog, “The Battle for Democracy” by John Cameron, 2/10/2015

[4] From Wisconsin Public Radio, npr Report, “Wisconsin Has Seen Largest Middle-Class Decline Of Any State, Study Finds,” Hosted by Rob Ferrett and Veronica Rueckert, 6/8/2015

[5] From Huffington Post Article, “This Billionaire Governor Taxed the Rich and Increased the Minimum Wage – Now, His State’s Economy Is One of the Best in the Country,” by C. Robert Gibson, 7/15/2015

 

 

Blog: Friends of Mike Carbonargi Chicago Bears Watch Party

When: Sunday, September 20, 2015 from noon – 3:00pm

Where: Leona’s, 6935 N. Sheridan Rd., Chicago, IL

What: A party with pizza and fun for the kids in support of Mike Cabonargi, Commissioner of the Second District on the Cook County Board of Review.

Tickets start at $50.

RSVP to Eric at 773-562-9559, email eric@blueprintcampaignconsulting.com

To purchase tickets online, click here

 

Blog: Nancy Rotering Reception

When: Monday, August 31, 2015 from 7:00 – 8:30pm

Where: Home of Jeanne Bishop, 832 Cherry St., Winnetka, IL

What: Reception in support of Nancy Rotering, a Democratic primary candidate in Illinois’ 10th Congressional District.  Hosts for the event are Jeanne Bishop and Jennifer Bishop Jenkins.

Tickets start at $75

To RSVP or make an online donation click here or contact Andy Bookman by phone at 847-902-6264 or email Andy@NancyRoteringForCongress.com

Blog: Upcoming TDU Programs

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Blog, Featured, Newsletter Articles: Tenth Dems Participates in Justice Day

Justice Day 2015 (1 of 2) (2)

On Sunday afternoon, July 26, Tenth Dems joined more than a dozen other community organizations at the Winnetka Village Green to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Northshore Summer Project, the grassroots movement that brought Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to rally thousands of Chicagoland residents in support of social justice.

The event featured songs, fun, food, and speeches by such luminaries as William McNary, Co-Director for Citizen Action/Illinois, and 9th District Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.

With a call for a renewed commitment to social justice, the event also honored the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Tenth Dems was a partner in the event and drew many visitors to its booth, which was anchored by Tenth Dems’ very own “cardboard Obama.”

 

Tenth Dems University Sponsoring Deputy Voter Registrar Training Sessions at Locations Throughout 10th District

DVR photo

Volunteers prepare to view slide show at one of several training sessions for Deputy Voter Registrars that Tenth Dems organized in July.