South Side Weekly: On the Ground A national activist group’s local chapter aspires to connect new and old organizers

When we fight, we win. So, let’s go and fight!” said Doug Bishop, opening an October meeting of Indivisible South Side at the First Unitarian Church of Chicago. He was followed by a presentation by Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP) on the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) for the Obama Presidential Center, reports from Indivisible’s working groups, and pitches by four candidates running for office: Rich Eichols, for U.S. Congress in the 8th district of Michigan; Joshua Grey, for Cook County Commissioner in the 3rd District; Fritz Kaegi, for Cook County Assessor; and Sharon Fairley, for Illinois Attorney General.

As candidates spoke about their connections to the Hyde Park community and their plans for defending progressive values once elected, strains of Nutcracker music emanating from a dance rehearsal elsewhere in the church filtered into the room, drowning out some of the speakers’ remarks. More than one candidate ventured over to the rehearsal to try their hand at negotiating with the dance group to turn the music down, a fitting display for those seeking to work with community members and leaders to compromise on much higher-stakes issues. “This is the price of activism, I guess,” said Bishop, joking about the space’s double-booking.

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Jason Rieger