On Friday night, thousands of committed activists from across Chicago’s many diverse communities came together to protest the bigotry of a Trump campaign rally. Because some of these protestors support Bernie Sanders, a number of journalists and movement leaders have come to us seeking clarifications of our role, as a prominent grassroots collective that stands for Bernie.
1. People for Bernie is a set of social media accounts and volunteers who use the power of the internet to amplify the voices of front-line organizers. Many of them work with the Bernie Sanders campaign, many do not. Either way, our mission is to support them, not tell them what to do.
2. Our origins are with one of the largest grassroots efforts in US history — the Occupy Wall Street movement. That phenomenon linked thousands together in a decentralized manner. What we do flows directly from the lessons learned in that movement.
3. The people most likely to pay the price for Donald Trump’s toxic brew of anti-immigrant hysteria, anti-Musim prejudice, and coded racism, are young people of color and undocumented immigrants. We are not the leaders of their efforts, and it’s troubling if the credit of the efforts to protest Trump are somehow assigned to us, Bernie Sanders, or the voting base of Bernie Sanders. We strongly advise all supporters of Bernie to follow our lead and just support this movement, without trying to own it or use it to advance a candidate that SOME of us support.
We will not be speaking to the press about this topic any further, but we are happy to connect journalists to the actual leaders of this movement.
Charles Lenchner & Winnie Wong