Last night, we drove downtown to provide rides to young people who were trapped, due to Mayor Lightfoot’s sudden declaration of a curfew, and lock down of the loop.
As we drove down Roosevelt to get to the South Loop to get to the safe space where youth had gathered for safety and safe transport, I passed hundreds of other young people, Black and Brown walking and sometimes running to get away from downtown. I saw young Black and Brown people who had gathered to express their outrage and pain at yet another Black life stolen by this country and it’s white supremacy, had been trapped in an increasingly dangerous situation, with Chicago Police who were escalating the violence in the Loop by the minute.
And as we crossed the bridge near the fancy outdoor mall/condo complex near Roosevelt and Clark, I looked at the broken windows of chain stores, I saw the outraged and yet vulnerable young people trying to get out, and then across the river I saw the site of what will become “the 78”, yet another new playground/village for the wealthiest and whitest of Chicago. It’s too much. Our cities are killing Black people, overtly through police violence, and more subtly, by starving the schools and communities of the resources they need to thrive – so that our tax money can be given to the wealthy and to fund a police department that kills and brutalizes Black people. This must end.
Bringing in the national guard won’t heal our communities. We need to move to safety not military occupation, we need to move to divesting from the police and investing in community. You can help get us there by supporting Black led organizing happening in the city right now.
Circles & Ciphers
Black Lives Matter Chicago
Good Kids Mad City
Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
Chicago Torture Justice Center
Workers Center for Racial Justice
We are seeking an experienced and talented community or labor organizer. The campaign director will support and develop Chicago organizing staff and potential interns, help craft overall strategy, as well as lead a planning process with our member and allied organizations that explores the adoption of a climate justice lens and strategy to our economic and racial justice mission. This position calls for a person with bold ideas, tactical creativity, an ability to navigate and build coalition relationships, and a commitment to developing long-term strategies that tangibly improve the lives of working people. We are looking for a strong team player who is motivated and highly organized. The ideal candidate will have a keen ability to identify strategic opportunities as well as a deep commitment to movement-building and leadership development. An interest in public budgets, corporate accountability, racial justice and anti-austerity work will be a strong asset.
Title: Campaign Director
Supervised by: Deputy Director
SUPERVISES: Chicago coalition organizer, organizing interns (periodically)
SALARY/HOURLY, EXEMPT OR NONEXEMPT: Salaried, Exempt, Full-time position
ORGANIZATIONAL SUMMARY: Grassroots Collaborative (501c3) builds power with working families through strategic community-labor organizing, grassroots leadership development, civic engagement, and research. We organize to win progressive policies and systems change that improve the lives of low-to-moderate income people and communities of color. We utilize popular education to build consciousness, and build organization that unites residents, community and labor organizations to create transformative change for a more just society. Our affiliated 501c4, Grassroots Illinois Action, works to build community political power through issue advocacy and electoral strategies. We are based in 2 locations, Chicago and Peoria.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Grassroots Collaborative engages in campaigns to make corporations, big banks, and the rich pay their fair share. Our member organizations face the combined threat of public financial crises on 3 levels – city, state and schools. As part of a larger strategy to win revenue for the programs, schools, and services our communities deserve, we are leading campaigns to win a Fair Tax in Illinois, and to win an intersectional platform in Chicago that includes housing justice, climate justice, TIF accountability, and more.
- Capacity building – Supervise, mentor, and motivate Chicago organizing staff, interns, and grassroots leaders to flourish, with deepened skills and analysis.
- Campaign Development – Lead a new planning process to explore adding a climate justice focus to our work, a major expansion. Ensure that Chicago campaigns are strategic and impactful, engaging GC and coalition staff and members to develop, implement, and assess power-building strategies that lead to racial equity.
- Civic Engagement – Support the development of building grassroots independent political power on the Northwest and Southwest sides of Chicago by leading electoral strategies that center voter engagement work and issue organizing.
- Public Education & Leadership Development – Conduct popular education workshops and presentations that support our campaign work, developing new curricula as needed. Develop the capacity of grassroots leaders to take leadership roles within their organizations and/or communities.
- Research and Communications – Work with the research and communications teams of coalition members and other GC staff to develop and implement communications and policy strategies that create and amplify a public narrative that reimagines Chicago as a place where Black and Brown families thrive.
- Other roles: Participating in Grassroots Collaborative staff team and other organization-wide meetings and activities. Additional roles and responsibilities as assigned.
- Full-time labor, community or constituency organizing experience, preferably with at least 2 years supervisory experience
- Coalition experience and skills at navigating complex organizational relationships
- Strong organizational, leadership, and problem-solving skills
- Ability to motivate and inspire others
- Experience effectively using a model of staff and team management based on coaching and leadership development
- Willingness to work sometimes long, irregular hours, including evenings and weekends, and some travel to central Illinois
- Detail oriented, driven to succeed; ability to work independently and in a team
- An energetic commitment to social justice and working within an anti-oppression framework
- Excellent verbal communication and writing skills. Ability to communicate effectively with staff and grassroots leaders
- Demonstrated ability to lead direct actions and events
- Spanish language skills are a plus
- Proficient in Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and the voter file. Experience with Salsa a plus
- Excellent team player, able to meet deadlines and work independently, innovative, creative, mature thinking and reasoning
Grassroots Collaborative is an equal-opportunity employer. People of color strongly encouraged to apply. For consideration, send a resume, cover letter, and three references to firstname.lastname@example.org. No calls, please. Position open until filled.
CHICAGO – Grassroots Collaborative is a labor community coalition that has been working to reform the TIF program for over a decade. Yesterday, Grassroots Collaborative, along with our co-plaintiff Illinois Raise Your Hand for Public Education, appealed the trial court decision in our lawsuit against the City of Chicago over the creation of the TIF district for Lincoln Yards, and the history of discriminatory uses of TIF favoring affluent areas at the expense of communities of color. The following is a statement by Amisha Patel, Executive Director of Grassroots Collaborative, on the changes to the TIF program proposed by the Lightfoot Administration.
“We hear Mayor Lightfoot talk a lot about the need for greater racial equity. We agree with much of what she says but the words we are hearing do not match the actions we are seeing. The reality is that the changes to the TIF program put forward by her administration will increase inequality by turning over the development of new standards to AECOM, and by reopening the luxury developer cash grab that is downtown TIF districts.
Some of the changes being proposed are headed in the right direction, such as the clear need to tighten the ‘but for’ test. Yesterday, we submitted a brief appealing appealed the trial court decision in our TIF litigation because we continue to believe that projects such as the Lincoln Yards luxury development are not helping “blighted” areas and fail to meet the current ‘but for’ test set in state TIF law. However, by engaging AECOM, a clout-heavy firm with no accountability, the administration is all-but ensuring that the outcomes will remain inequitable. The city should engage community leaders from the most burdened areas to create the meaningful equity that our city so desperately needs.”
Grassroots Collaborative Response to Mayor Lightfoot’s Budget Address
Chicago, IL – The following is a statement from Amisha Patel, Executive Director of Grassroots Collaborative on Mayor Lightfoot’s budget address.
“We hoped that Mayor Lightfoot would choose to work with parents, teachers, and community leaders to end the Tale of Two Cities that has plagued Chicago for generations but that is not the choice we see her making in this budget. Instead of the change voters want, we see a continuation of the same budget policies that hurt working families and further enrich the wealthy.
The budget she outlined today fails to provide the investment needed to address the inequality in our neighborhoods and schools and fails to make the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share. It contains no corporate head tax or other substantive progressive revenue. It fails to reopen the public mental health clinics that are needed to heal the trauma in Chicago’s neighborhoods or provide the investment in affordable housing and homeless services needed to meet the current housing crisis.
Rideshare and restaurant taxes will not fix our city, neither will doling out TIF money to luxury developers. We need real progressive revenue to reinvest in our schools and Black and Brown neighborhoods. Failure to do so will result in more violence and more residents being pushed out of the city.”
CHICAGO – A judge has granted the City of Chicago’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and national Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights on behalf of Grassroots Collaborative and Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education over the creation of a new TIF district for the Lincoln Yards luxury development and the systemic racial inequity caused by the City’s administration of the program.
“We are disappointed with today’s ruling,” stated Aneel Chablani, Chief Counsel for Chicago Lawyers’ Committee. “Although our complaint was dismissed based on legal standing, the ruling did not actually address the substance of our arguments that Chicago’s administration of TIF is discriminatory and illegal and that the Lincoln Yards TIF should never have been approved. We will be evaluating all legal options to address today’s court ruling and continue this challenge.”
Amisha Patel, Executive Director of Grassroots Collaborative added, “Nothing about today’s decision will stop our decades-long fight to end the racist abuse of the TIF program by the City of Chicago. We are going to continue to pursue both our legal and legislative options to stop the abuse of the program. We hope that the Lightfoot administration will join with us in the push for TIF reform instead of fighting us. We continue to call on her administration to hold hearings on the TIF program in the low-income neighborhoods that the TIF program was originally intended to help.” “The $1.3 billion mega-TIF for Lincoln Yards is a perfect example of how our broken TIF system takes public funds away from families in under-resourced communities who need the most support, particularly hurting people of color,” stated Jennie Biggs with Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education. “Our public schools can’t afford for these abuses to continue. Inaction on this issue is not an option.”
Chicago, IL 60605
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