Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Bucktown Arts Fest

Bucktown Arts Festival  Posted by Hello

Report From Peter Norman on the Bucktown Arts Fest:

The response to our Kerry-Edwards table this weekend at the Bucktown Arts Fest was fantastic. Twenty-eight volunteers passed out hundreds of stickers, 80+ yard signs, 350+ buttons, and 50+ bumper stickers on Saturday and Sunday. People from far away as Orange County, CA, and Kansas were excited to get Kerry gear and looked forward to wearing and displaying it proudly.

We also registered over 210 people to vote – a truly inspiring sight – and signed-up many new volunteers.

Mainly, we had a lot of fun talking with supporters, well-wishers, and even the occasional Republican.

[From Peter Norman, 9th CD Co-Meetup Chair]

Monday, August 30, 2004

Illinois for Kerry Organizers visit Carbondale/SIU

Chicagoland for Kerry

Illinois for Kerry organizers Dan Dennision, Leo Klein and Nate Zeke descended upon Carbondale Saturday to help the Kerry Campaign with its first official State Campaign Kick-Off at Southern Illinois University. Their mission was to introduce identified Kerry volunteers in Southern Illinois to a grassroots action plan for involvement in their own communities. Dan Dennision gave a stellar presentation detailing how volunteers could coordinate their own events and organization to help John Kerry win in November and shared some successful grassroots efforts in the 9th CD using these methods. Dan, Leo and Nathan then aided Tammy, Rob and Will from the campaign staff in leading break-out sessions focused on getting the Southern Illinois Volunteers started on their own houseparties, trips to other states, phonebanking and voter registration efforts.

After the successful campaign launch Dan, Leo and Nate networked with local Kerry volunteers, supporters and staff in an effort to further advance the Illinois Kerry campaign's efforts throughout the state. On the way out of town the three organizers ran into an anti-Bush rally and, after passing out buttons and rally signs to the protesters, turned it into a pro-Kerry rally! Southern Illinois is on the roll and will be integral in getting out the vote in that part of the state as well as across the border in Missouri.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Thursday's Meetup at Fitzgerald’s (Berwyn) -- 8/26

Report from Patty Reilly-Murphy:
We had 48 people at our meetup at FitzGerald's last night and raised $1,800 for the DNC-which I thought was great. I ordered several buttons, yard signs and bumper stickers and those sold well.

I thought the Wisconsin info was very well received but I thought we needed somebody there who could answer people's questions. One gentleman was the head of the West Suburban Democrats and he was asking about Congressional Districts, etc. Also, there were voter registration/absentee questions we couldn't answer so just directed them to the Board of Elections...

The crowd in general was over 45 with a lot of retired people who've been involved in liberal causes for years-although we also had many first-timers.
[From Patty Reilly-Murphy, Fitzgerald’s (Berwyn) Meetup Leader.]

Thursday's Meetup at Negro League Café (South Side) -- 8/26

Report from Dan Pawlus:
We had a pretty good showing at the Negro League Cafe tonight. I've got sign up sheets with about 15 names of good people ready and willing to get involved. (Illinois staff members) Avis LaVelle and Tammy Fagen stopped by and we also had Rikki Jones, African Outreach Coordinator and Mildred Logan from Rainbow Push to register voters. Avis gave a great speech on how we can make this happen at the grassroots level. Lots of talk around mobilizing and getting the word our about voter registration. We also had some interest in swing state outreach. No real donations, but I do have $20 in button sales.
[from Dan Pawlus, Negro League Café (South Side) Meetup Leader].

Thursday's Meetup at Charleston (Bucktown) -- 8/26

Report from Barbara Coleman:
I thought Bucktown MU was great. I may be a bit predjudiced though! We actually met outside on the street! It was cooler. I don't think anyone minded. We had a lively, yet informal gathering. Kind of like hanging out with friends.

There were about 24 people. We had a lot of new people, everyone seemed to be ready for action and were willing to volunteer. (Outreach members) Brendan and his friend gave a very enthusiastic account of their outreach efforts and motivated people to sign up. (Media leader) Magali Matarazzi came and talked about the Media Corps. As usual she was also fantastic. People also signed up for media/letterwriting. We don't have much time left!

So all in all, I think it went quite well. I gave everyone ‘Join the Fight,’ and passed out quite a few flyers. Over the weekend we are doing VR at the Bucktown Arts Fest.
[from Barbara Coleman, Charleston (Bucktown) Meetup Leader]

Thursday's Meetup at Goose Island (North Side) -- 8/26

Report from Josh Lange:
Goose Island had about 44 people, and it was probably our most organized one to date. Everyone left with our new Join the Fight informational flyer, and we raised over a hundred dollars selling buttons and bumper stickers. Will from the office told folks about volunteer opportunities, and we also had representatives for the Media and Voter Registration teams, who did some recruiting of their own. After an hour and fifteen minutes, we let people go if they wanted and handled questions from the attendees.

[from Josh Lange, Meetup Director and Goose Island (North Side) Meetup Leader.]

Thursday's Meetup at Cobb Hall (Hyde Park) -- 8/26

Report from Tanya Baker:

We had a wonderful meet-up in Hyde Park. 29 people were in attendance -- 20 of which are new to our group! Yay! Many thanks again to Heather Afra, Jo Thompson and Sheila Hori for distributing flyers and to all of you for helping to get the word out.

We were able to raise $98 (awesome!) which will go directly to ordering Kerry/Edwards buttons, stickers and yard signs to distribute here in our neighborhood and on campus. THANK YOU! These supplies are very much needed for our upcoming events. If you were unable to attend, we will still readily accept more donations for our supply fund.

At the U of C, O-week is rapidly approaching -- it begins on Saturday, Sept. 18! Check out the schedule here. We have yet to plan any detailed events on campus for this week, but keep your calendars clear because we will need your help with a lot of voter registration as well visibility/tabling for Kerry to recruit the incoming students, both graduate and undergraduate, to join our Kerry team.

We can recruit these newbies right away to join us out in the city for some of our fun summer festival events. Brian, one of our Kerry campus coordinators, will be back in town on September 14, so we eagerly await his leadership for our O-week campus efforts. Please send him an email if you have specific ideas for what we need to do. Megan, Emily and Erik are working hard at planning a VR strategy for campus, and they will post events to our list as they are planned.

Nathan Zeke led our meet-up, going over the many ways to get involved in the campaign, while cookies, chips and sodas were served. Please continue to check regularly www.chicagolandforkerry.com for upcoming events, including visibility (please set aside Sept. 10 for a huge city-wide Kerry day -- we'll need your help!), VR, and traveling to swing states, and for support for your letter writing/media response efforts -- we need your help to speak up for Kerry in our local papers!

It was decided that we will start meeting informally on Thursdays at 7pm. This is our local Kerry/Edwards supporter social. Come hang out, talk some politics and have fun! Place your vote with me (by Tuesday, Aug. 31) for where it should be: Bar Louie, Jimmy's or Lucky Strike. We'll start next Thursday, Sept. 2 at 7PM -- please vote for where you'd like it to be!

Eric Rogers talked about his house party on Sunday August 29th, 2004 at 4:30 PM (more info). Please support this excellent fundraising effort!

Thank you Eric for doing this! Please continue to try to raise $$ for a big Dem win in November. You can easily set up a house party of your own using the Kerry Volunteer Center of which all of you should be a member by now. Let me know if you need any assistance with this. Donations to the DNC can still be made online on the JohnKerry.com Contribution Page.

The Dobry's guided us through the steps we need to take to have effective voter registration by October 5th and GOTV mobilization on election day in our own neighborhood. We are fortunate to have them join our group and help lead our neighborhood VR and GOTV efforts.

Welcome, Alan and Lois Dobry!

John Moore took our group picture =) We hope to have it up online soon.

Finally, we broke up into small groups to discuss various aspects of involvement, with John Moore leading the discussion on visibility, Daniel Biss discussing swing state phonebanking and canvassing, the Dobry's discussing voter registration and GOTV, and Nate Zeke discussing media outreach, while I encouraged everyone to take with them fun Kerry souvenirs from the Democratic convention. Please post to the list any events organized or decisions that were made as a result of these group discussions!

Unfortunately, our featured guest was unable to attend. Avis LaVelle got tied up (she is a busy woman!), and we forgive her because she is doing such a phenomenal job at the challenging task of leading and organizing this campaign statewide. We have her to thank for the great new campaign office downtown at which you are all welcome and invited to help out. We hope to have her visit our campus in the future, though, as her schedule permits.

Our next meet-up will be on Thursday, September 23 at 7PM again at Cobb Hall room 103. Please mark your calendars!

Thanks again to all of you for being so involved! With your help we are going to have a big Kerry/Edwards victory!!!

[from Tanya Baker, Cobb Hall (Hyde Park) Meetup Leader]

Peter, Paul and Mary at Ravinia

9th and 10th for Kerry Posted by Hello

Last weekend, Kerry volunteers from the 9th Congressional attended a Peter, Paul and Mary concert at Ravinia Festival in Highland Park. A special thanks goes out to John Urban for organizing the event and putting together a great night of socializing, music and fun. Volunteer even lucked into tickets to watch the show up close under the canopy. We also meet a nice veteran from Milwaukee who had just spent time campaigning with Max Cleland and saw our Kerry T-shirts.

In a special surprise, volunteers from the 10th Kerry group were also in attendance. Both groups chatted and posed for picture together. We are keeping this state bright blue on election night!

Joke of the Day

What we are all working for!!!

One sunny day  in 2005, a WWII veteran wearing a VFW hat approached the White House from across Pennsylvania  Avenue, where he'd been sitting on a park bench. He spoke to the Marine standing guard and said, "I would  like to go in and meet with President Bush."

The Marine  replied, "Sir, Mr. Bush is not President and doesn't reside here." The old man said, "Okay," and walked away.

The following  day, the man approached the White House and said to the same Marine, "I would  like to go in and meet with President  Bush." The Marine again told the man, "Sir, as I said yesterday,  Mr. Bush is not President and doesn't reside here." The older man thanked him and again walked away.

The third day, the same veteran approached the White House and spoke to the very same Marine, saying "I  would like to go in and meet with  President Bush." The Marine, understandably agitated at this point, looked at the man and said, "Sir, this is the third day in a row you have been here asking to  speak to Mr. Bush. I've told you already that Mr. Bush is not the President and doesn't reside here. Don't you understand?"

The older veteran answered, "Oh, I understand. I just love hearing it."

The Marine snapped to attention, saluted, and said, "See you tomorrow."

Evanston Meetup Continues to Grow

Report from Susan Schell:

Evanston had a pretty full house at our Kerry Meetup last night and most of the faces were of new people in the crowd. Many of our regulars have moved on to spread the word out west (suburbs, that is).

Robin Trilling, the host, would know the final attendance count, so anyone wanting to know should email her. I'm happy to report that I, as the Volunteer Director of the Illinois 9th CD for John Kerry, had 18 new Media Corps. people sign up for our group, which now stands at 170 people. Many of these new people had Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio roots, so you know I'm encouraging them to contact their local media, outlets that they grew up with.

We also covered the topic of blogging and our planned Blogging Blitz for next week during the Republican Convention. I provided, by email, a list of which sites to use during the Convention, courtesy of CyberJournalist.net. If anyone would like my List of Blogging Sites, just let me know.

I'm also happy to report that we were able to assist our local Democratic Office in Evanston by successfully recruiting lots of new people to help out on election day in the 9th CD.

Our speaker for the night, State Rep Julie Hamos, as usual, did a great inspirational job at kicking off the night. She held up a copy of the recent Electoral Vote Predictor, which now shows Kerry having lost some ground over the last week, which came as no surprise to anyone, due to all of the "seeds of doubt" those nasty Republicans, time and time again, successfully plant against their opponents. But, Rep. Hamos encouraged everyone to remain optimistic and to dig in because the race really only starts after Labor Day, when more people really begin paying attention to political affairs and the presidential race.

Our meeting was informative and went smooth. I believe everyone left feeling glad that they had made the effort to come since they had learned something new about the Kerry campaign.


Sue Schell
Evanston Cub Reporter

Thursday, August 26, 2004

What Are We Fighting For? -- One American Veteran's Moving Story

Joel Colon (Afghan Veteran):
On September 11th, 2001 I saw an attack against the very freedoms I swore to defend. Lives were lost that day which hurt me as if they were my own family. I followed the advice of my commander in chief and displayed my patriotism. I did what I could and even offered to volunteer to deploy to Afghanistan.

Read the complete article.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Air & Water Show - Sat. (8/21)

Thanks to the thirty-five volunteers from the DuPage and North Suburban groups who worked the Air and Water Show on Saturday. A special thanks goes to veteran John Lee Bingham for organizing the event.

We blanket the show with six teams of four to five volunteers including manning a volunteer control center. Thanks to Adelaide for organizing materials and the "mobile" volunteer center. Volunteers distributed 8 rolls of Kerry/Edwards stickers to thousands of supporters in the crowd as well as signed up hundreds of volunteers to help with the campaign. Veterans Howard and John also signed up many veterans to help out with the cause.

At the most suburban visited festival in Chicago, the strong Kerry visibility and veteran support helped send the message to crowd about Kerry' s strength and vision on issues of national security and the military. – Report from Daniel

Edison Park

The Park Ridge/Edison Park group is on “fire” for Kerry. What started three moths ago with thirteen people at a Meetup just continues to grow with over 130 people now on their e-mail list. In a Republican area, their efforts are really making a difference.

Sharon Sikes organized the Saturday parade and wrote:

We were small but mighty! A dozen people and 3 dogs marched for Kerry in the parade. We were in the Democratic bloc that included Jan, DeLeo, Clare McWilliams (judge and owner of Elvis the campaign dog) so we looked a bit stronger than we were.

It was a tough crowd but we signed up a few volunteers and met Brian Grady and Bob Kujanpaa who came to work and will continue! Bob's a veteran who's been campaigning since 1948 - he made handmade signs for Truman! He was recovering from injuries and couldn't walk in the parade, but showed up with a lawnchair and planted himself in the middle of a sidewalk in the sun and stickered and talked to people for several hours. Great guy and we have to get him a Veterans for Kerry sign for his window! Sharon

On Sunday, we again worked the festival in Edison Park and signed up over thirty more volunteers and made a strong statement by stickering the crowd with the familiar Kerry blue lapel sticker. Thanks to Sharon McBride who runs the DNC Meetup for helping out plus continuing to pass information on to her group.

Wisc. House Party

Friday, August 20, 2004

Volunteers Put Accent on New Kerry Office

The new Kerry for President Office at 57 W. Grand St., 3rd fl. (312-832-0220) got a number of decorative touches from volunteers last week.

Moving in was a team effort with both campaign staff and volunteers helping out. Volunteers found that helping John Kerry also meant helping John Kerry move his office in Illinois. The well-used furniture was carried into the new quarters via U-Haul with Campaign favorite Rob Moon at the wheel.

The new quarters occupy the entire 3rd floor at 57 W. Grand St. They'll serve as a hub both for activities in Illinois and further a field. They represent a clear acknowledgement on the part of the official campaign of Illinois' importance in the coming political battle.

That said, the new office is not simply the center of activity for the official campaign. Rather, they've flug their doors open to us grassroots volunteers, making it as much our "home" as theirs.

If there were ever an indication of the official campaign's openess to our efforts at the grassroots level, surely it's this "Open Door" approach. Compare this with the bunker mentality of the opposition and you'll know why we've got the people, they've got the rhetoric, and why we're going to whup 'em -- provided we all do our part -- come November.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Kerry's Speech at the Fire Fighters' Convention in Boston

Doesn't Get Any Better Than This:
"...More than thirty years ago, I learned an important lesson -- when you're under attack, the best thing to do is turn your boat into the attacker. That's what I intend to do today."

Read the Whole Speech.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Whirlwind of Festivals over the Weekend

The Team Kerry was everywhere this weekend! Volunteers worked visibility at three separate festivals and two parades, plus gathered the e-mail addresses of over one hundred new volunteers. Keep up the great work!

9th Annual Korean Festival

Korean Festival Posted by Hello

Does anyone know where I can get some more of those peanut rice crisps? Lots of good ethnic food, sand wrestling, ethnic music and dance, now this is what Chicago is about.

On both Saturday and Sunday, Team Kerry worked the Korean Ethnic festival. Organized by Kerry veteran John Lee Bingham, volunteers reached out to an important ethnic community in Chicago. The reception was warm and generous for Kerry supporters even in a community not being known for being overtly political.

See Photo Gallery.

Indian Independence Parade on Devon

India Independence Parade Posted by Hello

Agggghhhhhh, so close, but yet so far away… Kerry volunteers were too busy blanketing the crowd with the familiar Kerry-Edwards stickers to notice the most reported event of the weekend, “The Obama / Keyes staredown.” At least, Obama came over and shook hands with most of the Kerry supporters who were working the crowd.

And what a fun, large and colorful parade... Even if there is no campaigning, I'll be back next year for the festivities.

In an ethic group where a substantial minority have voted Republican in past years, the enthusiasm for John Kerry’s candidacy was overwhelming. The Kerry stickers were more ubiquitous than Starbucks in downtown Manhattan. It looked like everyone was wearing one.

Volunteers rode a Kerry-Edwards float provided by Harish Bhatt. Other than a wrong turn at the beginning, volunteers had a blast waving and cheering with the crowd. Thanks, Harish!

See Photo Gallery.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Rogers Park Jazz Series

Ahhh, a big jazz stage in funky Rogers Park with Democrats everywhere, what can you call it, but Kerry’s sweet spot? Over fifteen Kerry volunteers helped out over the course of this weekend with visibility and recruitment of volunteers at the Rogers Park Jazz Fest. Besides being a source of new volunteers, Team Kerry wanted to make sure an area of strong support did not feel neglected. Festival goers were excited to see that so many volunteers were fired up about Kerry.

Thanks to Barb Ebey for organizing and running the Kerry event all weekend. Also, a special thanks to 49th Ward Democratic Committeeman David Fagus and his staff for allowing the Kerry volunteers space in the 49th’s booth.

Collaborative Voter Project

Lincoln Square was a buzz with creative energy on Saturday. The Collaborative Voter Project sponsored by the Chicago Printmakers Collaborative hosted a great event on Saturday. Workshops for kids, voter registration for grown-ups, free speech T-shirt printing, films, campaign speeches and a dance party were all part of an effort to encourage people to make their voice heard by voting.

A special thanks to Chris Cohen for speaking on behalf of Kerry and for getting the crowd fired up about the upcoming election. A former Chicago alderman Chris has done a great job traveling and speaking for Kerry around the Chicagoland. Also, thanks to Peter Norman for organizing the Kerry booth to make sure volunteers were recruited and Kerry T-shirts, button, signs, bumper stickers were distributed to those who wanted them.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Bud Billiken Parade

I don't think anyone who participated in the Bud Billiken Parade can say they weren't affected by the event. This major African-American event is one of the largest parades in the nation.

There were hundreds of thousands of spectators, many of them school children, lining both sides of Martin Luther King Dr. The feeling was intense. Around 50 Kerry Volunteers marched down the street, handing out both stickers and Kerry fans.

Among us, was State Director Avis LaVelle together with campaign officials Bill Cunningham and Rob Moon. They helped us so much, first in getting a spot for the volunteers to march (right behind Obama, thank you) and then in organizing both the people and materials.

We marched from 35th St. to the parade's end in Washington Park. All the way, the crowd chanted with determined hands in the air, "no more Bush" and "Kerry, Kerry". It truly was a memorable event -- a wonderful example of official campaign people working together with the Kerry volunteers.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Kerry Volunteers Make a Difference at Chicago's Venetian Night

In a sure sign that things are heating up, 15 new volunteers showed up at Chicago's famous Venetian Night. They found that through their participation, they can make a significant positive impact on the national election!

In the earlier part of the evening, we were all lined up at the entrance to the event at the Lakefront and Monroe. There we all stood in a line greeting the thousands upon thousands of people flooding in with our Kerry stickers, signs and pins. It truly was a Kerry event.

As any Kerry Volunteer who's been around can tell you, the public is enthusiastically in favor of our guy, John Kerry. Our volunteers at Venetian Night couldn't peel off stickers fast enough. We also had a large number of sign-ups and also general questions from the public -- of all ages, shapes and sizes -- on how to get more involved.

We were scheduled to continue handing out stickers till the fireworks started (9:30pm) but by 8:15 we had already handed out every sticker and pin we had. We gathered all our belongings, everyone grabbed a Kerry sign, and we proceeded to march single file down the Lakefront.

In a city-wide event, you get a broad audience and some in the crowd -- a few -- made it clear that they supported the current miserable failure in the White House. It was good that we encountered this since it reminded us of what we're facing on an even greater scale in the Battleground states. It also reminded us of how essential it is to support our campaign's efforts in those areas!

Of course, at Venetian Night the overwhelming preponderance of support was for John Kerry. People would applaud and clap -- some at a considerable distance -- as we walked by. Cars would honk their horns. It was just like a parade! We went south along the Lakefront almost all the way to Roosevelt, then went back up on the other side. We finished our impromtu parade just in time to pack everything up, take a group shot and watch the fireworks.

I don't think anyone who came and volunteered for this event failed to see how their presence did make a difference -- in favor of getting John Kerry elected president. This was a major event and we had a major impact on it.

Thanks to all.


See Photo Gallery.

Kerry Volunteers at Fiesta del Sol

With the familiar "Kerry-Edwards" lapel sticker, Kerry Volunteers greeted people to the famous Fiesta del Sol event on Saturday. Organized by ChicagoforKerry's own Latino Outreach Coordinator, Martin Arteaga, the event attracted a number of new Kerry Volunteers -- many of whom had no problem soliciting support for John Kerry in either English or Spanish.

Whatever the language, all were welcome to help out! Volunteers gave out stickers. They passed out flyers explaining the issues and how to get more involved. A number of volunteers were doing voter registration. We quickly found out -- not that we had many doubts -- that the Spanish-speaking communities are a critical factor in the coming election and that so many of them support John Kerry. It was a great event.

For those interested in getting involved with Latino Outreach, please feel free to contact Martin.

See Photo Gallery.