Nothing Without Organization

I moved to Auburn Gresham at the age of 12 to live with my grandparents. Sending me to Chicago was one of the most difficult decisions and greatest sacrifices my parents ever made. While the move tested all of us, if it weren’t for me coming to the district, I might have never learned the power of organization.

After my grandmother retired from 30 years as an educator, she didn’t retire to Florida or go on an extended vacation. Instead, she opened up a local food bank in Englewood. She started a block club on 79th street. She became the very first organizer that I ever met. My grandmother dedicated herself to serving and empowering our community. She showed me how important it was to communicate on the same level as our neighbors if we wanted their support. After school I would go from door to door with her, interacting with the elderly. By developing these relationships we were able to ensure they would join us at meetings. On summer breaks, I would volunteer at the food bank. As the members of my community would come and go, I began to truly understand the amount of trauma and inequity  that they faced. I also saw how much organization it required to get them the help they needed.

My grandmother taught me that innovative ideas don’t have an impact unless they can be organized on a community-wide scale. I believe that the ability to take resources from all regions of a district and organize them is the key responsibility of a Congressman. Politicians are servants of the people, not the other way around, and my responsibility as your Representative will be organizing the most powerful resources of our District, elevating them with Federal support. We also cannot expect to be effective if our organizers don’t know their communities. This is why we will focus on the organizational skills of activists who live and breath the First District of Illinois.

Robert Emmons