Get ready for the nationwide Organizing Revival! From June 25th-27th, ONE Northside leaders and organizers traveled to Washington, D.C. for the People’s Action National Convention. We joined over 1000 other grassroots leaders from organizations across the country. The convention’s theme was “Coming Home: An Organizing Revival.” People’s Action describes the Organizing Revival as “a call to revitalize our movement for social justice by strengthening the skills of community organizing at every level, and in every organization.” For three powerful and inspiring days, we participated in workshops, direct actions and fun community-building events.
ONE Northside goes to Washington, DC
Bright and early on Sunday morning, 28 ONE Northside organizers and leaders arrived in Washington, tired but ready for action! Coordinating a cross-country trip with this many people is complicated, and it was a true labor of love on everyone’s part to make everything run smoothly!
ONE Northside is a longtime member of People’s Action, a national network of grassroots organizing groups like ours. The 2023 convention was the first one held since the pandemic began, and it was the first one many of our leaders got to attend. People’s Action prepared three days of carefully planned activities to help motivate and train us to become engaged in the Organizing Revival, and they did not disappoint!
Leaders from across our vast network led workshops like “The Revolutionary Potential of the Tenant Movement,” and “Care Over Cost: Fighting Corporate Insurers & Building Power to Win Medicare for All.“
We also participated in Movement Art Making workshops and contributed blocks to the convention quilt! These sessions also made signs to be used for the direct actions to take place on the final day.
Day two closed with The Festival of Joyous Rebellion, a dance party and celebration. The joy in the room was contagious, as we watched everyone in our movement, from every background, gender, age, religion, come together to celebrate and just let loose!
Demanding Justice, Demanding Change!
Finally, we took over the streets! Before we left, we knew we would launch the Organizing Revival by taking our demands directly to the people and institutions that are blocking progress and denying people the basic rights and care that they need. With careful planning and coordinated actions throughout the city, thousands of grassroots organizers marched for campaigns that we care about the most.
ONE Northside leaders joined the action at the offices of the National Multifamily Housing Council to protest their lobbying against tenant protections. Housing Justice leaders from the Homes Guarantee team have been saying this for years: The rent is too damn high!
People’s Action also had its sights set on an Environmental Justice target. Citigroup is the second-biggest funder of fossil fuels in the US, and we let their board president Jim Dugan know: Stop Funding Climate Chaos!
Throughout the day, organizers also rallied at American Health Insurance Plans to demand an end to corporate profiteering in the insurance business. This is a vital demand of the Care Over Cost campaign, and one of our Mental Health Justice team’s longterm goals.
Another direct action brought organizers to the Drug Enforcement Agency’s headquarters and museum. Fifty years after the DEA’s creation, we are calling for an end to this failed policy of the War on Drugs. This action was especially meaningful to our Police Accountability and Communities Partnering 4 Peace teams, who have seen firsthand how the over-policing of Black and Brown communities through these policies has led to violence, mass incarceration, and untold suffering.
What is the Organizing Revival?
The Organizing Revival is a call to get back to the roots of grassroots organizing. While we face many challenges at this time in our history, we also have real hope. That hope comes from each other, and in building truly inclusive, multiracial, multigenerational democratic organizations.
People’s Action Institute took time to study the issues we face now and how we have succeeded in the past. They organized their proposal into a document outlining their call for the nationwide Organizing Revival, which they call “The Antidote to Authoritarianism.” As a coalition of grassroots organizations across the country, People’s Action is uniquely placed to lead a national movement of this type. We are proud to be a part of this movement and to build people in Chicago to create meaningful and lasting change.
How is ONE Northside bringing the Organizing Revival to Chicago?
At the convention, we stood up and committed to doubling our efforts for the coming year. We know the stakes are too high to sit back and let the same old routine be good enough. We will reach out to more of our neighbors than ever before to build power with them as we take on the issues that we face here in Chicago, in Illinois and nationwide.
As we celebrate our 10th anniversary this month, we are reflecting back on everything we have accomplished at ONE Northside. We know we are already part of this grassroots Organizing Revival that is making good trouble all across this country. From our North Side neighborhoods to Springfield to Washington, D.C., our leaders show up and show out to demand justice. We won’t stop until we have affordable housing, clear air and water, police accountability, access to mental healthcare, and a just and equitable society for all of us.