People's Summit Kicks Off: Moving 'Beyond Resistance' to Forge Just World in Trump Era
'If there was ever a moment to come together, this is it—in Trump times the only defense is a good offense,' says 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben
Thousands of progressive activists are gathering in Chicago to cultivate strategies and foster intersectionality for moving "beyond resistance" to "a people's movement for a just world."
The three-day People's Summit, headlined by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), kicks off Friday. It aims to bring together those committed to an agenda "that can enhance and expand issue campaigns and hold all elected officials accountable to popular demands for justice, equality, and freedom," the call to the event says.
The Vermont Independent and 2016 presidential contender will give the keynote address Saturday beginning at 7pm CST. A livestream will be available here.
Other speakers include noted filmmaker Josh Fox, Democracy Now! co-host Amy Goodman, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), political commentator Van Jones, Linda Sarsour of the Arab-American Association, Zephry Teachout of Fordham University, and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben.
“If there was ever a moment to come together, this is it—in Trump times the only defense is a good offense," McKibben said in an earlier statement.
Breakout sessions are set explore key progressive issues, featuring titles such as "Transforming the Democratic Party"; "Organizing for Education Justice"; "Multi-Front Organizing for the Political Revolution"; "Empowering Locals: The Power of Perseverance"; "Runaway Inequality"; and "Time for Single-Payer!"
Supporting organizations include many Sanders backers, such National Nurses United (NNU), Our Revolution, and The People for Bernie.
According to Winnie Wong, a key organizer of the summit and a co-founder of People for Bernie, the gathering is "going to be a turning point for the people who have been really invested in the Bernie revolution," and would offer "political education for organizers ahead of 2018."
Looking at all those participating in the summit, RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of NNU, said, "What has consistently unified us is a common vision of opposition to policies of austerity and neo-liberalism, and solidarity in supporting each others' work on healthcare, environmental, racial, social, and economic justice, and breaking the corporate grip on our political and economic system."
Saturday's roster also features "The People Speak"—dramatic readings inspired by the late Howard Zinn performed by artists including Aasif Mandvi, Jesse Eisenber, Melissa Leo, and Wallace Shawn.
The gathering at McCormick Place is People's Summit 2.0. Last year's similarly themed event, also in Chicago, featured speakers including author and climate activist Naomi Klein—who's also speaking at this year's event—and Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant.
Watch the hashtag #PPLSummit on Twitter over the next three days to see events from the People's Summit as it unfolds: