364 days ago, ONE Northside leaders and allies gathered at People’s Church to stand together as community after devastating news. It was clear that a Trump’s administration would threaten all of us, especially the communities that make up ONE Northside. One year later, we’ve continued to build collective power on the North side, connecting the innumerable federal threats to local state solutions, making sure that every crisis moment that ONE Northside responded to was part of a long term vision for a more economically just state and country. Here are some of the things we’ve learned one year later.
1. Local organizing matters more than ever.
After Trump’s inauguration, ONE Northside and Fair Economy Illinois pledged to stage weekly public events called #ResistTrumpTuesday in resistance to President Donald Trump’s agenda, moving instead toward an agenda that puts people and planet first. These weekly events culminated in a People’s March to Springfield, a 16 day long grassroots march for a Illinois state budget that puts people and planet first, with our allies Fair Economy Illinois. The March to Springfield changed the dominant narrative. Our march, made possible by the dedication and planning of hundreds of people, meant that millions heard our vision for Illinois: a state where every person and every community has the resources to thrive.
2. Solidarity isn’t optional.
As soon as Trump was elected, ONE Northside members gathered in radical solidarity with those targeted by our next president. Over the next few months, federal threats continued, from the #MuslimBan to concentrated attacks on the Affordable Care Act, and ONE Northside leaders continued to stand in solidarity with those affected by the attacks.
3. The most impacted have to lead every fight.
There is a role for everyone in the movement for justice! ONE Northside is more committed than ever to ensure low income people, people of color, youth, immigrants, LGBTQ people, and all those disproportionately impacted by the ways that policy determines the allocation of resources, lead our organizing efforts. The most impacted are the best equipped to come together and develop solutions, then lead the fight to put those solutions into action.
As Dorian Warren said at ONE Northside’s fall fundraiser, “there’s no substitute for building collective power. There are no shortcuts to advancing racial and economic justice.” After Trump’s election, tons of people were passionate, and ready to get involved with community organizing. The members who have become powerful leaders within the organization since November 2016 are those who were able to identify their own self interest and start organizing around issues that most aligned with that self interest.
5. We can win!
From the raising of the Personal Needs Allowance for residents living in Specialized Mental Health Rehabilitation Facilities to $60, to closing $200 million in Illinois corporate tax loopholes, ONE Northside built collective power and won real material improvements for our members. Even with new threats on the local, state, and federal level everyday, our leaders did more than survive — they thrived.
As we wrote last year, “It is us, regular people coming together with our values of honesty and justice, that make the real change. And no election will stop that.”
One year later, the power of regular people is strong as ever.
Want to get involved with ONE Northside and be a part of real grassroots organizing on the North side? Join us.