As our guest speaker Ai-jen Poo, so eloquently stated, ” organizing is hard work, but it’s the work of transforming this country. It’s about loving one another and dreaming bigger and bolder. We must organize deeply within and boldly across communities.”
One Northside’s Fall Fundraiser’s goal was $15,000 and we met it! Thanks to all that worked so diligently to accomplish that. It was a truly powerful event, that allowed both a time for celebration of the great success we’ve amassed over the last two years as well as a time to turn our eyes to the future and the work we have ahead. Karen Goldner, leader with Violence Prevention, expressed these sentiments beautifully.
” I felt overwhelmed and helpless by the violence and injustice in our city. So I got involved in the Violence Prevention Coalition and our successful effort to remove that felony question box from job applications, giving people coming back from prison a better chance of getting a job and becoming productive members of society. with our Get Out the Vote efforts where we demonstrated overwhelming support for raising the minimum wage. Our work pushed the Mayor and City Council to increase the minimum wage in Chicago. ONE Northside was the power behind getting the Chicago Police Department to agree to invest resources in Crisis Intervention Training, so that police officers know how to appropriately and effectively handle people in mental health crisis, rather than simply locking them up in Cook County Jail. ONE Northside was the leader in the City’s ordinance to protect affordable housing. The list of our successes goes on and on.
Now we have another big challenge in front of us: the state’s manufactured budget crisis. And I say “manufactured” because, although we have real problems, our current political leaders are turning a blind eye to the real solutions. Illinois ranks 5th among US states for most wealth, and 12th in most wealth per capita. It is not that we are a poor state. But our governor wants us to believe that we can’t afford state services. This is despite the fact that Illinois ranks next to last in the number of non-education state employees per capita…despite the fact that the wealthiest 1% of taxpayers in Illinois have a state and local tax burden that is 1/3 that of low income taxpayers.
This situation has been created as a crisis because, in the face of mounting deficits, the State of Illinois cut income taxes. And many of our politicians want us to feel overwhelmed and helpless about the situation because that gives them the power to help their wealthy friends and benefactors.
And alone, we are overwhelmed and helpless. But together we can accomplish great things. Your support of ONE Northside helps build the power that we need, working together, to end the budget stale mate in a way that doesn’t further harm our most vulnerable citizens.
There is so much more to do. If you are as moved as I have been by our speaker and by our organization’s success, and as frustrated as I am with the cruel and cynical tactics happening in Springfield and City Hall, please make an additional contribution. ONE Northside staff and volunteers will be collecting donations, which can be check, cash or credit card. If you donate $25 or more, you will become an individual voting member of ONE Northside, able to have a direct voice in our organization’s priorities. And regardless of the amount, whether it’s five dollars or five hundred, you will building power to make Chicago and Illinois a better place for all of us.
Again, thank you. Your generosity truly makes a difference.”
More about our Guest Speaker: Ai-jen Poo is the Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Co-director of the Caring Across Generations campaign. She is a 2014 MacArthur fellow and was named one of Time 100’s world’s most influential people in 2012. Ai-jen serves on the Board of Directors of Momsrising, National Jobs with Justice, Working America, and the National Council on Aging. She is a 2013 World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, one of Fortune.com’s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders, and author of The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America. Follow her on Twitter at @aijenpoo.