On November 6th, 2023 ONE Northside celebrated its 10-year anniversary with the North Star fundraiser. Over 200 nicely dressed guests gathered to honor and support the work we do together in organizing communities towards justice. As they filtered into the space at Loyola’s Sister Jean Ballroom, friends greeted each other and had a chance to catch up. It had the atmosphere of a joyous family reunion.
Ten Years of Organizing and Building People Power
Pastor Rev Lindsey Joyce, co-president of the board, enthusiastically kicked off the program and introduced our Executive Director, Jesse Hoyt. Jesse shared that he’d grown up in this organization, when his dad was the director of ONE, our predecessor organization. He got his first organizing job here later on. He shared that our vision for the future builds on the strengths of where we’ve been.
Jesse then introduced our special guest emcee for the evening, Alderwoman Angela Clay (46th Ward), who also was involved with ONE Northside at an early age. Additionally, as ONE Northside’s sister 501c4 organization, ONE People’s Campaign, played a role in Clay’s election to Chicago City Council. The excitement was high to have her leading this event.
Alderwoman Clay pumped up the crowd by sharing victories from the last 10 years, asking the crowd to “make some noise!” for fights we’d won together. We also viewed a celebration video, titled “10 Years. 1 Mission. ONE Northside”
Organized Money Helps Create Change!
Sometimes we say in organizing that we build power by organizing people or by organizing money. Our opponents have a lot of organized money while we have a lot of people power! Sometimes we need some money to get to where we’re going too, and that’s where grassroots fundraising comes in!
ONE People’s Campaign Leader Karen Goldner shared a powerful story of how ONE People’s Campaign started and the changes we have made in just five years. With the energy high in the room, she asked people to dig deep and donate to help us get ready for our next big fights– the ballot initiative in March for Bring Chicago Home and elected school boards. People gave so generously, at every level, from $1000 to $5! At the end of the Paddle Raise OPC Director of Movement Politics Hannah Gelder called for a drumroll and announced that we’d blown past our $10,000 goal for an astounding $11,600 raised!
Lifting Up Our Leaders
Next were ONE Northside Leadership Awards, which are a new annual tradition. These awards are named in honor of leaders from our past who have left us. They connect us to our history, while honoring those who are leading us toward a brighter future.
Board Member Tedd Peso presented the Reverend Barbara Bolsen Values in Action Award. This award was named for longtime ONE Northside leader Reverend Barbara Bolsen, who passed away this August.
Barb was a longtime ONE Northside leader who fought for a north side where everyone could thrive. Barb passed away in August this year. Barb worked for the Night Ministry, after leaving a 20-year career in journalism because she said she wanted to find something where her work matched her values. She was deeply passionate about homeless youth in our community and worked tirelessly to make sure they received care and were treated with dignity and respect.
Whether sitting through hours of negotiations with the Chicago Police Department and the City to fight for the safety for transgender individuals in police custody, marching on the front lines of a protest, tirelessly researching policies and doing work behind the scenes, or using her position and her voice for those who had no voice, Reverend Barb Bolsen lived her life every day as an example of a leader who put her values into action.
This award was presented to Police Accountability Leader and 17th Police District Council Member Beth Rochford. Beth is a passionate advocate for police accountability, carrying on this legacy. She was a leader with ONE Northside and Lakeview Action Coalition for over the last 20 years. She worked hard for the ECPS ordinance, and when it was passed, she ran for and won office as a District Council member for the 17th District. She has also been a key driver of the social justice work at her church, St. Clements, one of our member institutions. Her fellow leaders nominated her not just for all she has accomplished, but for how her leadership reflects her values. She mentors other young leaders, and is tireless in her efforts to ensure that all voices are heard and that our systems work for those most excluded. In a way we think Rev. Bolsen would probably approve, Beth used the opportunity of her speech to remind everyone in the audience to exercise their right to have a voice by filling out a survey for the Community Commission on Public Safety and Accountability.
Then, Ms Adele Sims presented the The Carlos Cardenas Courageous Leadership Award. This award was created in honor of Carlos Cardenas, who passed away in 2020.
Carlos was an organizer, a healer, and a fighter. He was clear that he was not alone in the struggles he faced. Carlos joined our organization in 2009 and quickly became a key leader on our campaign to hold non-profit hospitals accountable to their charitable mission by providing free care or paying their taxes. He served in just about every role in our organization, and led on multiple campaigns. He was our longest serving board member.
Carlos lived on the front lines of our broken systems. He worked in the service sector and did not have health insurance. Undiagnosed diabetes led to an emergency amputation which left him unemployed, homeless and depressed. He knew there were millions of people like him who are left behind by our health care, housing and economic systems. He was driven by love and fought to make the world a place where love was more possible. He was deeply dedicated to the project of building a people’s organization that had enough power to shape the decisions being made that affect people’s lives. He contributed to our organization in numerous ways – from testifying at hearings in Springfield, to sharing his story with the media, to bringing new people into the organization, to making sure our events had soul by infusing them with music. Carlos was always looking to grow and take risks. He was also never the biggest personality in the room. He listened more than he spoke. He could talk to anyone and make them feel at ease. He helped others feel courageous and inspired them to take action.
This award was presented to Parent Mentor and Co-President of the Board, Jessica Ames. Ms. Adele spoke about how Jessica has grown in leadership through many roles at ONE Northside, from Parent Mentor and parent mentor coordinator to co-president of the Board of Directors. Through it all, she has stayed anchored in tremendous compassion for others. Jessica will not ask anyone to do something she hasn’t done herself. She is eager to learn, take risks, and then create the path for someone to follow her. She is constantly moving up and out of the way so that others behind her can step into their own leadership. Her courage as a leader has brought many new leaders into the work and shown many of us the power that lies in being honest, committed, and loving. Jessica said she humbly accepted the award in memory of Carlos. His family members were in attendance at North Star.
Thank you to everyone who made North Star so fun!
The program concluded, then it was time for drinks and dancing! DJ Ricky provided the beats, and folks had a nice time celebrating together.
Thank you to all who attended North Star 2023, who donated, and who helped make it possible! We hope to see you next year!
Thank you again to our sponsors and host committee:
Bob Lawson & Jane Norling
Charlie Knowlton, friend of the community
46th Ward Democratic Committeeperson Sean Tenner
Eleanor Poley and Brittany Alsot
State Senator Mike Simmons
Anonymous Friend of the Community
Steve and Emmy Stanley
Sally and Randall Doubet-King
Voice of the People
Joanna and Josh Hoyt
Jim and Barb Javorcic
Margie Shaps and Jack Doppelt
Allen Wesolowski and Mary Kathleen Nolan
Laurie and Pierre LeBreton
Leader Greg Harris
State Rep. Kelly Cassidy
State Rep. Hoan Huynh
People’s Church of Chicago
Jackie and Jerry Kendall
Alderman Andre Vasquez
Jenny Schaffer, 19th District Council Member
District Councilor Sam Schoenburg