Resistance in Chicago: This Isn’t Improv

I’m looking forward to taking a personal day from organizing tomorrow, but I’m also grateful for my hectic schedule. Politicians always rely on Chicago winters to dull the momentum of movements, but that hasn’t happened this year. We have held it down through the cold, snow and rain, and we are roaring into the spring. And while I urge everyone to be mindful of their differing capacities and need for self care, I also urge my friends and allies to give it all they’ve got right now, and hit the streets with a vengeance in the coming weeks. The neoliberal politicians who have deemed us disposable, while balancing the books on the backs of the most vulnerable, are now, themselves, vulnerable. They have violated our rights and attacked our ability to organize as workers. They  have caused the deaths of our neighbors and they have looted our public services. We’ve felt this, month after month, and we have resisted. That resistance has brought us to this critical moment.

In other words, this isn’t improv.

We have been building, fighting, and planning for years. We have invested countless hours, put our bodies on the line, and we have proven that we will not be broken.  We have chipped away at the power and security of the opposition, and we are on the verge of great things.

This moment that finds our enemies weak and weary demands that we land every punch possible, and that we swing hard.

This is about more than one enemy, even though I would celebrate Emanuel’s fall quite joyfully. All eyes are on Chicago. We are showing the next mayor, whoever he may be, and those who devalue our lives and rights around the country, that there are consequences for their actions. We are also reminding liberals everywhere that they cannot afford to throw radicals under the bus, because the change we need requires nothing less than the power and force of movements.

We’re all tired. Our fights have been long and hard, and there have been many nights where I’ve ended my day at my computer with tears in my eyes, not knowing what to do with it all. In an unfair world, love and compassion take a toll. But in recent months, those tears have just as often been joyful and reverent, because I have had the privilege of working alongside some of the people who have built forward day after day. Regardless of the outcome of this election, we are standing in strength because of them.

In my very first piece on this page, I said we were on the cusp of change. I believe that now more than ever, but what that change looks like is up to us.

It’s spring and Chicago is rising. I am grateful to be here you with you all, and I will attend every rally I can, and offer up every skill and resource at my disposal. I will raise my voice and dig my heels in, because it’s time.

I’ll see you in the streets, and outside the mayor’s office next week.

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