Canvassing & Phonebanking for John Sullivan (IL-03)

Just a preliminary heads up that we're organizing three days of canvassing for John Sullivan (IL-03) on the Southwest Side of Chicago.  This will be the first three Sundays of March (3/5, 3/12, 3/19).

We'll meet at the Diversey Brownline Stop at 9am, then head down to the Campaign Headquarters for a couple hours of knocking on doors.  If someone's got a car for carpooling so much the better, otherwise the CTA will work just fine.  You can also head directly down there as well.

Also, if you can get the day off, we're be working with the Sullivan Campaign on Primary Day (3/21).

For more information or to "sign up" for any of these days, go to:

Lastly, Betsy Schnotzer, our Co-host at Goose Island, is organizing a Phonebanking evening at her house on Lakeview Ave. near Diversey for Wed., 3/1, 7pm-9pm.  So if you can't make it to the Southwest side on the weekend, there's also something to do a bit further north.  For more info and to sign up, go to:

There's more...

John Sullivan is the 'Ciro Rodriguez' of Illinois

I saw all the posts on Ciro Rodriguez -- here on MyDD for example -- about the "true blue" Democrat challenger, Ciro Rodriguez who's running against faux Democrat Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) in the primary.

It reminded me of the situation we have here in Illinois where Democratic Challenger John Sullivan is running in the primary against incumbent Daniel Lipinski (IL-03).

In many ways the situation here is far more outrageous than in Texas.

Basically Daniel Lipinski inherited the job from his father, former Congressman William Lipinski.  The Tribune explains the circumstances of his election this way:

"Dan Lipinski handily won his father's seat in November [2004] without having to face a primary opponent beforehand because the elder Lipinski left his own name on the March ballot and then waited until he was easily renominated to announce his retirement. Bowing to William Lipinski's wishes, party officials then handpicked his son to run in his place in the general election." Chicago Tribune (12/26/2004): p1.

There's more...

Obama meets Senators on immigration as undocumented dreamers come out of the shadows

From the Restore Fairness blog.

My name is Nico and I’m undocumented. I’m coming out of the shadows because I am no longer afraid. I came to this country in 1992, following my mother to the land where the bread that would feed her children was. I have recently lost my mother to cancer, undoubtedly from the chemical factory she worked at most of her life. She was unable to demand better health and safety conditions due to her “status.” But she kept on working for me and the rest of my family. She worked everyday in fear not knowing if “la migra” would come and take her away from us. Now she is buried in the land of freedom, the land where she’s considered a criminal. I’m standing up today for her, myself, and the millions of families like ours.

Nico was just one of dozens of undocumented youth who took the decision to take to the streets and “come out” of their undocumented status in mobilizations across the country yesterday. Coming Out of the Shadows Week” is an initiative of Dream Activist and the Chicago-based Immigrant Youth Justice League which  which will culminate in the nation-wide “March for America”. Inspired by gay rights activism, the initiative empowers undocumented youth who are tired of being persecuted by the system to stand up and break the silence about their status.

Its kick off began yesterday in Chicago when eight undocumented youth surrounded by a thousand supporters holding signs saying “Undocumented and Unafraid” gathered outside Senator Richard Durbin’s office to ensure the introduction of the bipartisan immigration reform bill in the Senate. 26 year old University of Illinois student Tania Unzueta, one of the founders of the Immigrant Youth Justice League, was one of the eight.

Like thousands of others, Tania was brought to the U.S. on a tourist visa by her parents at the age of 10, who stayed on with the hope of a better future. Despite being captain of the swim team, Tania has always had to keep her status a secret and make up stories to justify not having a driver’s license and not being able to travel out of the country with her swim team. Tired and frustrated of being trapped in a scenario that she had no hand in creating, she has taken steps to become active in the movement for the passage of the Dream Act. Speaking about “Coming Out” as a radical and extremely personal act, she said,

It’s scary on one hand, but it’s also liberating. I feel like I’ve been hiding for so long…There’s a sense of urgency. We’re angry. We’re frustrated. We thought this would be a good strategy to get our community mobilized.

Every year, about 65,000 undocumented immigrants graduate from U.S. high schools and live in constant fear of being kicked out of college, losing their scholarships, and not being able to apply for jobs. Research indicates that there are currently 3.2 million undocumented young adults living in a state of limbo whose status prevents them from using their education to become fully contributing members of society. First introduced by Senator Richard Durbin and Representative Howard Burmen, the provisions of the Dream Act allows undocumented youth to be eligible for a conditional path to citizenship. If you are an undocumented youth and need help to come out, here’s some great advice on why and how to do so. To get started, check out Gabriel’s brave coming out story.

The pressure mounting on Congress seems to be yielding some results. Three grassroots meetings are slated for today, ones that we hope will lead to concrete action. At 1 pm, grassroots leaders will meet with senior White House staff. This will be followed by a much publicized meeting between President Obama and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (who are working on a bipartisan immigration reform bill), seen as a move to insert immigration back onto a congressional agenda. And finally, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is also meeting with the President today to discuss health care and immigration.

Should we be holding our breaths?

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