by Hilda Schlatter
I consider my self to be an introvert, so I do not look forward to attending conferences. Unless the conference covers something I am passionate about, I just want to blend into the woodwork. However I was passionate about Bernie’s message. I looked forward to attending the People’s summit.
I was inspired and educated by speakers like Frances Fox Piven, Naomi Klein, Jim Hightower and others. But I feel the smart and committed people who attended will be responsible for doing the work. Some of the people I met:
• Two young men, one 21 and the other 17 came from CA. They are members of DSA and tabled for Bernie. The 17 year old won’t be able to vote. He studied the issues, and decided he wanted to spread Bernie’s message. The 21 year old will go to UCLA next year. He hopes to become a lawyer and has interest in becoming a public interest lawyer. He has a warehouse job. He talks to co-workers who are paid low wages and are trying to raise a family. He supports a living wage.
• A young woman from NYC is passionate about affordable housing. She lives in an area that is becoming “upscale”. She is working with a community group that supports affordable housing. She is interested in running for office at some point. Everyone in our break out group felt her passion and saw her holding office when she got old enough.
• I was impressed by the senior citizen from Oklahoma who worked for Bernie. She drove from Tulsa by herself and mentioned how she liked being at a conference with like minded people. She is doing what she can to educate the people in her area about a progressive agenda.
The last day Illinois attendees met as a group. After an introduction, the Illinois attendees broke into small groups. The facilitator in my group focused on getting people to run for office. I do not know if anyone in the group will run for office, but I know everyone will work to work on issues like TTP, better health care, etc.
In summary, the conference speakers and break out sessions were inspirational and educational. The People’s Summit will be a success if those who attend join groups like DSA, form coalitions, and work on progressive issues.