Thousands gathered over the weekend in Chicago for “The People’s Summit,” a major conference that brought together activists, community leaders and organizations to discuss what’s next for the progressive movement in the United States.
The meeting began one day after Bernie Sanders announced he would not concede to Hillary Clinton. On the opening night, Juan González moderated a panel featuring Naomi Klein, John Nichols, Rosario Dawson and RoseAnn DeMoro of National Nurses United. Juan looked back to 1968 to examine the role activists took in that pivotal election year that saw the election of Richard Nixon.
“Our slogan was ‘Vote with your feet, vote in the street,'” said González, who was a member of SDS, Students for a Democratic Society. “I’m here to tell you that the slogan was right, the tactic was wrong.” Other speakers included Naomi Klein and Rosario Dawson. Dawson had a hopeful message:
And I talk to so many people who are absolutely interested in creating things and developing things, particularly relationships, networking with each other, talking to each other, recognizing, “Wow, I did a lot of organizing. I did a lot of phone banking. I did a lot of door knocking and canvassing. You know what? I could do that for you. Do you want to run for office? Or how about me? Maybe I’ll run for office.”
You know, these are the conversations that I’m seeing of young people and people across the nation who are discovering their power, because they were compelled to do something that moved them, that was—felt like a calling, that they did without even really thinking about it. Like Shailene Woodley had this pin that says, you know, “I was going to get into Bernie Sanders, and I just thought, you know, it would be part of my life. And then I just decided, ‘Why not let it consume to my soul?'”
And that’s what this movement has done for people. They’re like, “This is what I need to do. This is my life. I wasn’t alive until this moment. And now I’m so alive.” And there’s no going back on that. So, this narrative of like, “Oh, you lost, and you’re a sore loser,” is like, wait, I’m sorry, I’m looking at a sea of thousands of people. I don’t know how this is losing. If this is losing, then give me some more of that.
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