Raising $1,000 from Friends at a House Party for Rise Up October

A Chicago Activist | September 27, 2015

If you DON'T get involved in the National Mobilization in New York City on October 24, 2015, you have, by default, chosen a side. I realize that you may not be able to pick up and get to New York, but there is something you CAN do. I was asked by a friend to host a small fundraising gathering at my apartment. The parameters for the event were simple. I would select friends and acquaintances who might or might not know about the upcoming event in NYC. The invitations were sent to only my selected quests.

World Can't Wait made up the e-mail flyer to send to these people. They also told me they would provide a speaker who would make a short presentation about the upcoming events in NYC. We had invited someone who lost a family member to police violence who is organizing for Oct. 24 but she took ill that afternoon and couldn't join us. All I had to do was a little dusting and set out some light refreshments.

I was amazed at how well things went. I invited women from a YWCA discussion group on race that I attend frequently and people from another committee I work with. I also invited some old friends I hadn't seen in a wile. This is an issue almost everyone is talking about!

We not only had a nice turn out (about 8 people) but several people who could not come dropped off checks or mailed checks to me. It was also a good time for people to ask questions. One woman wondered why New York was selected for the event as opposed to Washington, DC. It was explained that while Washington, DC, is the seat of government, this event is not meant to mobilize our unresponsive elected representatives. Instead, it is meant to energize and mobilize a despairing public. New York City contains representatives from every group living in our country. Each group has been impacted by police spying and over-policing at different times in our history.

Another guest opened a discussion with our guest speaker who felt that only revolution could make a change in the way the justice system works. She said she just heard Ralph Nader speak and he said that if you had 1% of the population rising up, change was possible. I explained how the leafleting the our WCW chapter had done at the series of protests against the Gaza bombing last summer had succeeded in showing people who were involved in the marches what the role of the US government and Obama was in supporting Israel. What we do can change how people see things. These are the types of discussions we need and they can begin at small fund raising house parties.

Each of the people at the fund raiser took postcards about the NYC event to pass out to people they know. It may be slow going but when you drop a pebble (information) in a lake (your circle of friends and acquaintances), the information moves out beyond those attending the fund raiser.

My last comment is one of my favorite quotes from Daniel Berrigan: "One cannot level one's moral lance at every evil in the universe. There are just too many of them. But you can do something, and the difference between doing something and doing nothing is everything."

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