It’s been a wild week. On Sunday, progressives from around the United States poured into Washington, DC for the Take Back the American Dream Conference, the first summit of the American Dream Movement. And by 9:00 Monday morning, the conference was in full swing.
There were a lot of key moments in the conference. Thirty leaders, diverse in age, gender, sexual orientation, religious faith, and cause, all standing on the stage shoulder to shoulder to tell the audience how their own struggle fits in with the American Dream Movement. Van Jones making the crowd gasp, laugh, and cry in the same presentation. Ohio State Senator Nina Turner energetically passing on her grandmother’s wisdom: the only bones you need to make a difference are the wishbone, the jawbone, and the backbone. Shifting the whole conference to start early on Monday to add a special session to address Occupy Wall Street.
Here’s are some highlights of what transpired at Take Back the American Dream 2011.
1) Monday, October 3 plenary, featuring Van Jones, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Robert Reich, Billy Wimsatt, and Allison Johnson:
2) Tuesday, October 4 plenary, featuring Richard Trumka, Justin Ruben, Erica Williams, Joel Silberman, Ai-Jen Poo, Liz Butler, and Mary Kay Henry:
CBS News had this to say about the newfound focus of conference attendees:
A coalition of liberal organizations are planning to push for a liberal agenda and recruit progressive politicians at every level of government — with or without President Obama.
Taking hold of the momentum generated by the “Occupy Wall Street” protests occurring across the country, the liberal leaders have drafted plans to implement what they call an “American Autumn” — a realignment of American politics inspired by the pro-democracy protests in the Middle East dubbed the “Arab Spring.”
Gathered in Washington for an annual progressive conference — this year called the “Take Back the American Dream” conference – the leaders said that liberals this year have a new-found sense of energy and enthusiasm.
“People are moving, they are moving on their own,” said Robert Borosage co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future. “They understand the need for action.”
3) And on Wednesday, the highlight of the day was a big “Jobs Not Cuts” rally on Capitol Hill. Van Jones is a gifted speaker and could have easily carried the crowd for hours, but he shared the stage with fourteen wonderful fellow Americans, including an emergency room nurse, President of the Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin Marlon Mitchell, a jobless worker from Pittsburgh, and Representatives Keith Ellison, Raul Grijalva, and Sheila Jackson Lee. Perhaps the most moving speech came from unemployed home caregiver Linda Evans, whose voice quivered from despair to anger as she wept, crying out to Congress, “How can you sleep at night? How can you sleep knowing that people in the District of Columbia are hungry, living at a poverty level?”
You can watch highlights of the Wednesday rally here:
Next big event is NOVEMBER 17th. Don't sit this one out.