STATEMENT: Van Dyke verdict just the tip of the iceberg.



Van Dyke verdict is just the tip of the iceberg

CHICAGO- Following is the statement of Emma Tai, Executive Director of United Working Families (UWF), on today’s conviction of Jason Van Dyke for the second degree murder and aggravated battery of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald:

“Today’s verdict is just the tip of the iceberg. From the day he was born to the night he was killed, Laquan McDonald was set up for tragedy by the architects of Chicago’s rigged and racist economy.

“Laquan grew up in a Chicago neighborhood where nearly half of all young black men are out of school and out of work. Without sufficient funding for counselors and special education aides, the public education system resorted to suspensions and expulsions that pushed him out of school and onto the streets.

“These conditions are not inevitable. They are the result of conscious decisions by the political ruling class to systematically starve Black people of the public services and infrastructure we all need to live safe and healthy lives.

“Jason Van Dyke murdered Laquan McDonald, and the jury was right to convict him of murder and aggravated battery today. But only wholesale political change--including voting out the City Council members who colluded with Mayor Rahm Emanuel to cover up the shooting--will change the tragic conditions that resulted in his death."


United Working Families is an independent political organization by and for the 99%. UWF affiliate members include: Action Now, Chicago Teachers Union, Cook County College Teachers Union, Grassroots Illinois Action, SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana, Warehouse Workers Organizing Committee, United Electrical Workers Western Region, Illinois Nurses Association, People United for Action, Workers United CMRJB, 22nd Ward IPO, 25th Ward IPO, and 33rd Ward Working Families.

2018 At-Large Delegates: Candidate Questionnaires

United Working Families has six at-large delegates who sit on our Party Committee and help set the direction and carry out the work of building independent political power. This year, we have 8 candidates running for at-large delegate seats. Read their questionnaires here and come to the Convention to elect our next term of at-large delegates: We have six at-large delegate positions. In 2018, 4 current delegates are running for re-election and 4 are running as new candidates:


Mayra Lopez-Zuñiga: Bio: Mayra is the proud daughter of immigrant parents who moved to Chicago from Mexico in search of a better future. Her family settled in the Back of the Yards community, where she grew up confronted by the realities of growing up in a low-income immigrant community. Mayra has been organizing in Chicago for the past 8 years. The majority of that time, she organized with The Resurrection Project (TRP) where she organized around education, redistricting, and immigration reform in Back of the Yards. Mayra led a successful campaign in 2011 to advocate for a new ward in the City of Chicago’s redistricting process. The campaign specifically demanded to consolidate the number of wards that encompassed the Back of the Yards community, leading to the creation of the new 15th ward. In 2013, Mayra’s work shifted to focus on education and parent engagement. She led the implementation and expansion for the Parent Mentor Program and created the organization’s base for parent engagement. In 2015, Mayra took a short break to work as a field organizer for the Garcia for Chicago campaign where she was the field director for all of the southwest side wards with a Latino majority population. In 2016, Mayra helped elect the first Asian American legislator to the Illinois Legislature, State Representative Theresa Mah. Early in 2017, Mayra became District Director for Representative Mah. She continues to be actively involved in Back of the Yards, Pilsen and McKinley Park where she currently resides. Mayra graduated from University of Chicago in 2010 with a B.A. in Anthropology and Latin American studies. She is proud graduate of Chicago Public Schools and an alumni fellow of UnidosUS’s National Institute for Latino School Leadership. Why do we need to build an independent political party? We need an independent political party to elect people whose values and desire to run for office align to a political platform that aims to represent working class people, people of color, undocumented folks and any group who is often disenfranchised from the political system. Every day, more and more, money and special interest corrupts the way our political system works. Currently, machine politics has monopolized the way people become elected officials. If people are interested in running for office, they must align themselves to elected officials, even if their values and work ethic is questionable. This is why it is so imperative for us to create a alternative way for people, specially everyday people, to become involved with politics and run for office. We need to create a way for our progressive moment to elect people to office and I think United Working Families should and can be that vehicle. Together we can create a way for elected officials to become accountable to their constituencies and empower people to vote people out of office when they are not doing right by them. At the same time, we need to broaden the pool of candidates, create a bench of progressive elected officials who come from our movement. I think UWF can become the vehicle to run and elect movement elected officials and to keep them accountable too. What is your vision for UWF and how do you see your role in achieving that vision? As mentioned before, I think there is great need for an alternative political space in Chicago. I space for people politics. My vision is that United Working Families becomes that space. I hope UWF becomes as space where people on the ground can find support to run people from the community to office. My hope is that the work and platform of UWF is shaped by the membership and in turn it’s membership define and keep accountable the work of the organization so that the work and politics of the organization are always relevant to the communities it encompasses. This way, the organization can also be supportive when people on the group wish to hold their elected officials accountable. I want UWF to become a powerful coalition of people in Chicago who are defining the standards for good, accountable, community centered elected officials. I am running for United Working Families’ party committee because in my short time doing electoral politics in the City of Chicago, I have observed a hunger for change among the Latino community. People are tired of politics as usual and although that has created a deep distrust of the way politics works, people are also challenging the way they see elected officials. People are challenging the perception of their agency within the system. If we set forth higher standards for our elected officials, hold them accountable for listening to constituent concerns, and taking action on issues relevant to the communities they represent – perhaps our quality of life would improve. However, there is a gap between the organizing happening on the ground in the communities and building the capacity needed to run successful campaigns. I believe my skills as community organizer, field director for political campaigns and my current role as District Director for an elected official can be helpful to UWF as we create a platform for the upcoming year leading up to 2019. I want to help create a platform that encompasses issues that matter to people in the southwest side of Chicago. I have plenty of relationships in the southwest side of Chicago that I would love to activate and bring forth to UWF to grow our movement and power. What political and activist work have you done, including work to build United Working Families? I have 8+ years of experience in Chicago. A lot of my organizing work is centered on community and political organizing with individuals in Pilsen and Back of the Yards. My first organizing campaign was around redistricting in 2011 negotiating with the Latino and Black caucus around a unified and compact ward encompassing Back of the Yards. In 2014, I helped Rafael Yanez campaign for 15th ward alderman and in 2015 I was one of the first Field Directors hire by the Garcia for Chicago campaign where I oversaw most of Southwest Side wards in Chicago. In 2016, I helped Theresa Mah in her campaign for State Representative and I have worked with her for the past two years as her Chief of Staff. Most recently, I was the campaign manager for the Team Chuy slate which successfully elected Beatriz Frausto Sandoval as Subcircuit judge, Alma Anaya as Cook County commissioner and Aaron Ortiz as State Representative. I have been on the UWF Party Committee since 2017 and also sit on the Political Committee where I have helped guide the endorsement process. Organization affiliations (unions, community groups, etc): Mijente, We are Back of the Yards, UWF

Jay Travis: Bio: I am an organizer with a 25-year track record of grassroots organizing and coalition building with low-income and working families. As one of the youngest Executive Director of Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, I led one of Chicago’s oldest, Black, intergenerational organizations that organized to address the housing, employment, safety and senior (elderly) needs of families in North Kenwood, Oakland and Bronzeville. As a steadfast proponent of racial, economic and social justice, I have supported progressive candidates and worked to build infrastructure for working families to elect accountable people with a commitment to a progressive agenda. I was endorsed by United Working Families as a candidate for State Representative in 2016, and I played a supportive role in Karen Lewis’ and Chuy Garcia’s bids for mayor. I have also worked to build community and labor coalitions to strengthen our fight for education justice both locally and nationally. Why do we need to build an independent political party? Elected officials in both parties have become beholden to their billionaire donors, and less and less accountable to the needs of low-income and working families. Critical issues such as school privatization, the abuse of TIF funds and attacks on affordable housing enjoy bi-partisan support. Entrenched political machines have prolonged the passage of critical legislation at the state level based on political gamesmanship and not the needs of the people. What is your vision for UWF and how do you see your role in achieving that vision? My vision for working families is that it strengthens the infrastructure needed to elect representative, progressive, accountable political leadership. While I feel that the establishment of a full independent party will take time, I fully support that vision. I also support Working Families as a vehicle that is rooted in community and labor coalitions based on mutual respect. I am interested in working to elect accountable political leadership at the municipal, state and federal level. What is your previous political and activist work? I have a history of working to build political power through assisting grassroots organizers with connecting issue based organizing with voter engagement/turnout and identifying progressive candidates to run for office. I ran for State Representative of 26th (twice) and created a intergenerational, racially representative, community labor coalition that won over 11,000 votes in the 2016 election. People United for Action, a grassroots Independent organization, was created by people that worked on my first campaign, and is still active. Organization affiliations (unions, community groups, etc): Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, People United for Action

Manuel Diaz: Bio: 27 year old organizer. Cicero raised. 1st generation everything Why do we need to build independent political power? We need to build an independent political party because a dominant two party system only protects the interests of the wealthy and well connected. We need to have a vehicle to bring the needs of the marginalized to the table. We need to build an organization that can protect promising leaders from compromising to the political establishment. We need to create an independent political party to bring power to our communities of color. What is your vision for UWF and how do you see your role in achieving that vision? Recruit and back good people to run and in strategic places and challenge the status quo. Maintain a close relationship with those candidates that become elected officials to ensure the presence of a progressive agenda. Build off the recent victories and create a real alternative in those communities to expand the work into surrounding areas. What political and activist work have you done, including work to build United Working Families? Workplace organizer to take on bad employers and drive pro worker legislation in Illinois. Political organizer on the southwest side of Chicago. Worked on the campaigns to elect Alma Anaya, Beatriz Frausto-Sandoval, Aaron Ortiz and Chuy Garcia in 2018 and delivered an exceptional blow to long time machine operatives on the southwest side. Elected as a UWF board delegate for 2018 and served as co-chair for the fundraising committee to establish alternative sources of revenue for the organization. Organizational affiliations (unions, community groups, etc) Member United Working Families Member National Writers Union

Roberto Clack: Bio: I am originally from the the diverse and working class city of Joliet, Illinois. I have dedicated my entire adult life to the cause of social justice organizing working as a housing, labor and antiwar organizer. Why do we need to build independent political power? Politics in our country and the city of Chicago are not serving working class people and are beholden to 1% interest throughout various levels of government. United Working Families is dedicated to building a grassroots, people powered organization that can fight for the interest of working class people in Chicago and beyond. I believe the only way we can counteract big moneyed interest is through building grassroots power and organization. UWF is a leading organization/party, in building this power in Chicagoland. What is your vision for UWF and how do you see your role in achieving that vision? We need to continue to grow and build on our success as an organization. As a 25th ward resident and party delegate, I was one of the first board members to advocate for the endorsement of Alma Anaya and Aaron Ortiz. As one of the leaders of the effort to get Alma Anaya elected Cook County Commissioners in the 25th ward, we got the best vote percentage and vote total in this important victory for progressives on the southwest side. We did this in-spite of being massively outspent and facing opponents who had history and where rooted in our communities. Being part of the leadership in this victory demonstrated both foresight and know how in conducting a winning campaign. As an incumbent party delegate, I seek reelection to be able to continue this work and build upon our collective success. Securing electoral victories is important in building confidence in our individual & group membership to take on even larger challenges and in building legitimacy with the broader public. Beyond that, we must build out local organizations as well as our umbrella organization, UWF. We will only continue to win if we broaden our organizational network to include more organizations as well as activating and signing up dues paying individual members. Individual members were unsung contributors to victories like Alma Anaya and Aaron Ortiz and I believe by broadening this network, under a bold progressive politics, we will win real change in the lives of working class people throughout Chicagoland. What political and activist work have you done, including work to build United Working Families? As mentioned before, I have a diverse set experiences organizing for social justice. Working in the peace movement, I worked with veterans who had experienced wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and we actively organized to oppose these wars and educate the public on why we should challenge militarism as our government's main priority. While pensions get cut, schools closed and safety nets slashed, the prioritization of military spending and war goes unchallenged, even by some progressives. As part of my work with the veterans movement in Chicago, we organized the NATO medal ceremony return, a campaign to fight VA privatization as well as engaged in organizing with local labor and community groups. Some of this work included international solidarity, such as organizing in support of the Iraqi Oil Workers Union, etc. As an economic rights organizer I have worked in the housing movement organizing tenants to hold accountable their landlords for better and safer living conditions as well as organized in support of policy campaigns, such as the Keep Chicago Renting ordinance. I have almost 5 years experience as a labor organizer, organizing low wage workers to fight for better working conditions and dignity in the workplace. As a UWF Party Delegate, I was a part of leading field operations in the 25th wards for Alma Anaya for 7th District Cook County Commissioner and was the only volunteer to bring a broom to the celebration party after we accomplished the southwest side sweep :) Organizational affiliations (unions, community groups, etc) UWF Party Delegate, Unite 25, DSA


Desmon Yancy Bio: For most of the last decade, I have worked as a labor and community organizer. I began my career organizing home health care workers on the South and West sides of Chicago with SEIU Healthcare Illinois/Indiana. In 2010, I launched a leadership development program designed to train union members to organize, not just in their workplace, but in their communities. The result of this program has produced nearly 1,000 organizers trained to fight for dignity and respect in the workplace and in their neighborhoods. After leaving SEIU in 2013, I began working with various community organizations on a number of projects. My most rewarding project was managing a voter registration program that registered 50,000 voters across the city. In 2015, I became one of the first staff hired for United Working Families. As the Deputy Political Director, I coordinated 11 challenger races for Chicago City Council and was instrumental in guiding Alderman Toni Foulkes to her second consecutive re-election campaign. Most recently, I have been working with a coalition of community organizations that are fighting for police accountability. Why do we need to build independent political power? We need an independent political party, because the Democratic Party is not responsive to the needs of its voters, particularly Black voters. There needs to be an alternative to the two-party system, both nationally and locally. What is your vision for UWF and how do you see your role in achieving that vision? My vision is that UWF becomes that alternative that I wrote about earlier. Residents on the south and west sides are hungry for an alternative. UWF is on the right path towards providing more than the status quo and is uniquely positioned to organize these communities, by their willingness to talk to city residents and involve them in the decisions that affect them, while providing political education so they understand the choices and the consequences. What political and activist work have you done, including work to build United Working Families? I have previously served as a UWF board member and as the co-chair of the Political Committee, I was instrumental in offering guidance on our 2017 & 2019 electoral strategy. As one of the few board members that staffed our inaugural campaign season, I often remind the board about our successes and challenges, as a way to provide a roadmap towards our success. - 2015  - UWF Deputy Political Director - 2016 - 2018  UWF Board Member; UWF Political Committee Co-Chair - 2016 - 2018 Director of Racial Justice (Organizing Director) Organizational affiliations (unions, community groups, etc) Member - Action Now; Member - Workers Center for Racial Justice, Board Vice-Chair - River Oaks Community Education and Development Corp.

Ada Vargas:

I am a queer, gender non-conforming, Latinx, immigrant of low socioeconomic background who has been pushed and pulled by all of these identities through struggle. I am a first generation college graduate, an activist, an organizer, and someone looking to take away the common narrative of "that's just the way things are." Born in Mexico, raised in Chicago, and expanded by so many communities as I traveled across the country and the world, I have returned to Chicago to fight to make this city and the communities that raised me more than they ever dreamed.
Why do we need to build independent political power?
The change that is required for the majority of people in this city and country are clear-as-day not going to come from the traditional avenues of power. We need a bold vision for political engagement and building independent power from traditional lines is crucial to this and we need it to truly welcome and encompass all who are suffering under our current political arrangement which ignores them as it looks to moneyed interests for direction.
What is your vision for UWF and how do you see your role in achieving that vision?
My vision for the United Working Families is one where we are taking concrete steps towards a transformative world where workers' rights are central to the conversation, where universal healthcare is the standard, where racial justice and restorative justice are at the center of our politics, where our schools, roads, infrastructure, and environment are tended to so that people can thrive! I see my role in achieving this vision in pushing for engagement of our membership towards reforms that put these elements at the core, where we come together with all communities that can benefit from a wide-ranging change in how things are done to make these changes come to fruition. I hope to bring bold ideas and bold plans of action to this end.
What political and activist work have you done, including work to build United Working Families?
I have worked on myriad political campaigns both as a volunteer and a staffer. I organized for months for the Bernie Sanders campaign during the primary season while I lived in New York. I have also done extensive work on non-partisan efforts towards youth civic engagement. I have not worked directly with the United Working Families but see our shared values as a great force pulling me towards working together.
Organizational affiliations (unions, community groups, etc)

I am an active member of the Chicago chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America and specifically I am the co-chair of the Electoral Working Group.

Sophia Margarita Olazaba:
I grew up in both Back of the Yards South Chicago and parts of Indiana (East Chicago and Crown Point). Both of these communities exposed me to the realities that both urban and rural communities face. I have over 10 years of experience in both Illinois and Indiana as an organizer.  My experience includes organizing around issues like the Dream ACT, Earned Sick Time and the  Equal Pay Coalition. With regards to political experience, I developed and executed field programs, built campaigns, created strategy and structure for progressive candidates. I have also worked with United Steelworkers where I learned the in’s and outs of arbitration for local unions and defending the pension of retirees.
Why do we need to build independent political power?
What I learned from my education is that every big city has its own history in how the two parties came into its form and in how committed they have been in staying true to the needs of the people. In my experience, I believe we need to build a independent political party because the current system makes it extremely challenging to elect any progressive candidates that reflects the hopes of everyday working class progressive to break through the apparatus of the machine. I began my work organizing around the Dream Act with its co-sponsor in Indiana. If you ever lived in Indiana and experienced the way in which politics operate in the Northwest region, one would see that the two party system is devoid of any political machine. However, in any attempts by Democrats to moderately align with republicans, they would not budge to support issues surrounding immigration, the Dream act, reproductive healthcare, LGBTQ issues and several other issues that affected a more progressive base in order to gain political votes. In the city of Chicago, this view was strengthened after I was exposed to the different sects of the democratic party. The machine, moderates, etc. and because of this, the two party system has proven time and time again that it is NOT effective for the working class of this state. This two party system halts creating ordinances that provide more economic resources and economic growth to neighborhoods that lack them. A Independent political party, as I have come to see it, challenges the status quo and is the sole force for backing progressive leadership, ideas and ordinances that the city of Chicago needs. I also see that an Independent political party diminishing the ""good ole boys"" patriarchal concept that tends to provide further corruption and lessens that ability for women, more so women of color to run for office.
What is your vision for UWF and how do you see your role in achieving that vision?
My vision for United Working Families (UWF) is to continue the work of championing issues that build the working class and working class families, help progressive candidates win elections to continue to build a progressive movement based around the needs and realities of everyday people. When I think about the future and the type of leadership I want to see, I envision honest people who are committed to social justice,  I want to see representatives that govern with the people, leaders that empower the voices of their constituents, efforts to democratize the electoral process, and I want to see more women and people of color in the decision making political process. The role I believe I play is one that reflects my own personal and professional experience, and one that reflects the experience of people who underrepresented and underserved. I believe I bring political and electoral experience I lived through and worked with in Indiana and in the city of Chicago. I bring a wealth of experience on how to build campaigns, developing strategy and working the field. I also have history in building volunteer capacity and potential. Additionally, I have relationships with with progressive groups and people across the state. I am confident my personal and professional experience can build up (UWF) into the independent political party is strives to be.
What political and activist work have you done, including work to build United Working Families?
In terms of my political and activist work, I first put boots on the ground as an organizer with then co-sponsor around the Dream Act, Richard Lugar. Although unsuccessful, I worked with various Indiana University student activists to push our university’s Trustee’s to commit to charging undocumented youth in-state tuition and they did. Since then in the city of Chicago I worked as a representative for Chicago Foundation for Women on the Earned Sick Time Coalition as well as the  Equal Pay Day Coalition. Most recently, I worked as the Field Manager for Marie Newman, where we took on a 15 year democratic incumbent and exposed his voting record, he did not support and as a democrat continues to vote against immigration reform, reproductive rights, $15 minimum wage and does not support LGBTQ people or their rights. It was recently that I was introduced to United Working Families, while canvassing for one of their slated candidates (Delia Ramirez) but the mission and vision is what I have and continue to dedicate my work towards. As part of (UWF), I commit to supporting and building up the mission and vision of the organization.
Organizational affiliations (unions, community groups, etc)

Campaign Workers Guild (union member), NARAL Pro - Choice America (Fellow), Northside Democracy for America (Steering Committee), Mom's Demand Action - LaGrange, Indivisible - Western Springs,  Will County Progressives.

Todd St Hill

Todd St Hill was a member of Chicago’s We Charge Genocide working group where he was a part of a delegation of 8 organizers who attended the 53 rd session of the United Nations Committee Against Torture presenting a document on the abuses and misconduct of the Chicago Police Department.  He also helped to initiate citywide Copwatch training programs while participating in We Charge Genocide working group. Todd is also a member if the Chicago chapter of the Black Youth Project100 where he served as Organizing CoChair for the Chicago Chapter and nationally as the National Chapter Coordinator for national coordination, organizational support and political education. BYP100 is an activist based organization of 18-35yr olds dedicated to creating justice and liberation for all Black people.
Why do we need to build independent political power?
Working people, particularly Black working people, comprise a large percentage of public sector unionized jobs.  This is especially impactful in Chicago.  Yet they do not have enough of a voice in the development of the public policy that impacts, or will impact their lives. Working people in this city from all backgrounds have the potential to come together, organize amongst themselves, and produce candidates and policy (and policy platforms) that are truly trusted by, and accountable to grassroots movements and organizations.  For years this has been hampered by an entrenched status quo of how political decisions are carried out in the city.  It is only through the creation of an independent political party that the voice of working people can truly be heard.
What is your vision for UWF and how do you see your role in achieving that vision?
As many of Chicagoans have seen the elected officials that represent the interests of Black working people have failed to fulfill those obligations. Whats worse, they are seemingly unapologetic in their failure. Now more than ever Independent Political Organizations like UWF are/can be poised to define and support accountable and progressive grassroots candidates to elected offices and begin to transform Chicago politics. Through a project of community engagement and assessment and development a program can be developed that reflects the opinions and desires of working people. This kind of approach is one that can empower working people where they are, in their neighborhoods and work places, and develop a layer of grassroots independent political activity in concert with independent political organization (UWF).
What political and activist work have you done, including work to build United Working Families?
--Johnae Strong 5th District State Representative election.
Grass Gap/Decriminalize Black 
--A campaign aimed at addressing the disproportionate way in which African Americans (youth in particular) are criminalized for the same or similar possession and  recreational usage of small amounts of Cannabis. Co-authored and introduced policy that attempted to lower the penalties for possession of small amounts of Cannabis that became the basis of the (720 ILCS 550/) Cannabis Control Act.
#SayHerName (Chicago, IL) 
--A national campaign aimed at addressing Black women’s experience of criminalization, profiling and policing.  
#ByeAnita (Chicago, IL) 
Co-drafter of campaign plan to unseat former State Attorney Anita Alverez for the cover up of the circumstances surrounding the death Laquan McDonald. Organized a complimentary GOTV strategy. 
Fight For  $15 
--Partnership between BYP100 and the Fight For $15 campaign ∙ Turned out 200  young people of color to national day of action. Assisted in organizing Black fast food workers. Produced infomercial about the experience and statistics of low wage work for people of color.
Coalitions and working groups:
We Charge Genocide working group (Chicago, IL) 
--Co-Developed citywide Know Your Rights trainings and curriculum
#ChiStops empowered young people through popular education and leadership training to resist racial profiling and other biased policing. 
--Participated in delegation of youth who submitted a shadow report to the United Nations Committee Against Torture addressing the racial disparities and instances of police brutality by Chicago Police Department.
--Participated on campaign to achieve justice for torture survivors of John Burge. 
Succeeded in receiving reparations for torture survivors. Development of public school curriculum on history of John Burge case. 
Resist, Reimagine and Rebuild coalition (Chicago, IL) 
--Contributed in the development of a citywide coalition of 32 Black and Brown led organization aimed at resisting rightward political turn of the US government (post Trump election) developing campaigns and alternative policy aimed strengthening Black and Brown communities and developing the necessary organizational infrastructure to drive policy and action.  
 Organizational affiliations (unions, community groups, etc)
I am currently a member of the Black Youth Project100 (5yrs). I was a founding member of Resist, Reimagine, Rebuild coalition where I served on the Coordinating Council.


2018 Convention Agenda and Resolution

At this year's membership convention, we'll be debating and voting on the vision, principles, and strategy that will move our work forward over the next two years. Read the 2018 Resolution on Movement Politics that our Party Committee has drafted for consideration from the membership and check out the agenda for the convention! 2018 Resolution on Movement Politics from the UWF Party Committee

Guided by: Our vision for a city and a state that provides for the many, not just the wealthy few.

Recognizing: That working people in Chicago and Illinois are under attack from a system of social and economic exploitation that has enriched financial elites while stripping all others of the basic provisions needed to live with peace and dignity.

Recognizing: That communities of color, and particularly Black people, have borne the brunt of these attacks, resulting in unconscionable levels of displacement, incarceration, violence, and unemployment.

Recognizing: That winning a different future for our city and state--in which all working people can hold jobs with dignity, live in safe, stable, and affordable housing, and send their children to free, world-class public schools from birth to college--will require progressive revenue that transfers private profits into the public sphere and stops the massive privatization of public accommodation.

Recognizing: That the forces aligned against this vision have an overwhelming financial advantage that has been systematically deployed to weaken the political power of working-class people and foster racial strife amongst people of color along with manufactured hatred and violence.

Recognizing: That winning a government that provides for the many, not the few, will require winning elections with candidates from the rank-and-file of our movements, organizing that builds people-powered infrastructure, and campaigns that shift the prevailing narratives and recruit people to our politics.
We adopt the following strategy to guide our political and organizing work over the next two years:

1. BUILD BLACK AND BROWN LEADERSHIP ON THE LEFT. Our only path to victory lies with recruiting people, specifically communities of color, to a shared vision and strategy. Our potential to bend politics to our vision of a more equal, humane and just society depends on mobilizing the full extent of our multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-lingual rank-and-file. Electoral campaigns are effective tools to do this; once elected, public officials can further mobilize, build leadership, and promote our message. We will elect candidates who know our struggles and promote our vision, values and strategic priorities, and we will emphasize the development and elevation of Black and Brown candidates on the left.

2. FIGHT FOR BOLD ALTERNATIVES TO THE STATUS QUO. UWF is made up of community and labor organizations with deep histories of fighting for working-class, racial, gender, and immigrant justice. We must continue to bring this vibrant, just, and organized militant spirit to elected office. We will use elections to define the sides of the debate between us and our opponents, backing only those candidates who are unafraid to name the brutalities of our current political arrangement and offer bold, clear and aspirational alternatives.

3. DEFEND OUR CHAMPIONS AND BUILD ORGANIZATION.  Our opposition has intentionally cultivated hopelessness and cynicism. UWF must make the argument that meaningful political change is both possible and worth the effort. We take risks knowing both the imperative of a victory and the cost of a loss, and therefore hold our candidates and elected officials to the highest standards of strategic and political practice both during and beyond any one electoral cycle. We will defend our incumbents and work with them year-round to build an organizational infrastructure that lasts beyond a single election.

4. CREATE SPACE FOR INDEPENDENT POLITICS. We recognize the crucial differences between Democrats and Republicans, and in between different Democrats. We further recognize the deep harm being done to people of color, working people, and women across Chicago and Illinois under the current regimes of Donald Trump, Bruce Rauner, and Rahm Emanuel. However, it is UWF’s unique role to expand the landscape of possibility, not promote the best option within a field of limited possibility. We make endorsements based on our hopes, not our fears. It is not our role to endorse in every race, but to win a city and a state for the many, not the few. We will out-organize our opponents, set the terms of the debate, and develop a pipeline and infrastructure that can support bold and inspiring new leadership.

2018 Membership Convention Agenda:
Saturday, September 22nd, 2018
10 am - 2 pm
@ the Chicago Teacher's Union
1901 W Carroll
10:00 - 10:20 am - Registration and Vision Setting
, introductions, and opening visioning activity
10:20 - 11:10 am - Why Now for United Working Families?
Director's Report Back and Party Committee's presentation of the 2018 Resolution to present the strategic questions on UWF's role in the current political moment and how to build a city for the many
11:10 - 11:50am - Breakout Discussions
Four breakout groups to consider planks of the 2018 Resolution, including:
- Building Black and Brown leadership on the left
- Fighting for bold alternatives to the status quo
- Defending our champions and build organization
- Creating a space for independent politics
11:50 am -12:55 pm - Strategy Debate & Lunch
Members debate on vote on amendments to the 2018 Resolution
12:55 - 1:45 pm: Bylaws Vote and Delegate Elections Members vote on updates to the bylaws and elect 6 at-large delegates to the party committee1:45-2:00 - Closing & Call to Action Next steps and closing
@ the Chicago Teacher's Lounge & Eatery
2525 West Division
See you at the Convention!

It's almost time for the UWF Convention! Join the Party.

The UWF Membership Convention is coming up on Saturday, September 22nd from 10 am - 2 pm at the Chicago Teachers Union. Have you registered yet?

It's going to be a packed day where UWF members will:

  • Vote on the strategies to win in 2019, 2020, and beyond
  • Make a plan for building the people-powered political organization we need
  • Elect party delegates and the future leadership of our organization

Do you know someone who would be a great at-large party delegate? Are you interested in running? If so, submit a nomination form!

At this year's convention, two at-large delegate seats are open and four at-large delegates--Roberto Clack, Manny Diaz, Mayra Lopez, and Jay Travis--are running for re-election. As a reflection of our commitment to racial and gender justice, the Party Committee strongly encourages women of color to consider running for UWF leadership.

Nominate yourself or another member. Deadline: Wednesday, September 12th

Complete a candidate questionnaire. Deadline: Sunday, September 16th

All members in good standing are eligible to nominate a delegate and vote at the convention.

A member in good standing can be either a) an individual who has paid at least the $20 minimum annual dues in the previous calendar year or b) an individual who is a member of an affiliated organization. Affiliated organizations include Action Now, Chicago Teachers Union, Cook County College Teachers Union, Grassroots Illinois Action, SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana, People United for Action, Warehouse Workers Organizing Committee, United Electrical Workers Western Region, Illinois Nurses Association, 22nd Ward IPO, 25th Ward IPO, and 33rd Ward Working Families. If you are not a member in good standing, you can sign up here.

We look forward to seeing you there!

STATEMENT: Rahm takes a pass. Good riddance.

CHICAGO- Following is the statement of Emma Tai, Executive Director of United Working Families (UWF), on Mayor Rahm Emanuel's decision not to run for re-election: "In 2014, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis came together with the healthcare workers of SEIU HCII and the community activists of Action Now and Grassroots Illinois Action to create United Working Families. We forced a mayoral runoff and took Rahm Emanuel to the limit in 2015.

"Four years later, instead of answering for the slain teenagers and displaced families and struggling workers and violent cops, Rahm decided to take a pass. Good riddance.

"Emanuel turned Chicago into a city where Black and Brown people could not live safe and healthy lives, where working families could not afford child care or rent, where developers snatched up land made cheap by African-American displacement, and where parents starved themselves to keep their neighborhood high school open.

"With Emanuel gone, we can and we will win a different future--a city for the many, not just the wealthy few.

"The people of Chicago need and deserve public safety without occupation, living wage jobs, and flourishing public schools. Those who want to win the fifth floor must speak to that vision. Anything less, and we're taking a pass on you, too."


United Working Families is an independent political organization by and for the 99%. UWF affiliate members include: Action Now, Chicago Teachers Union, Cook County College Teachers Union, Grassroots Illinois Action, SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana, Warehouse Workers Organizing Committee, United Electrical Workers Western Region, Illinois Nurses Association, People United for Action, Workers United CMRJB, 22nd Ward IPO, 25th Ward IPO, and 33rd Ward Working Families.


Set the agenda for our Convention on September 22!

United Working Families is committed to doing politics differently. And we need you! Tell us what a winning political strategy looks like in the 2018 and 2019 elections. Take this 2-minute survey to tell us what people in your community care about--and what you wish your elected officials cared more about.

UWF Summer 2018 Update

United Working Families is growing! At July's Party Committee meeting, delegates voted to accept the affiliation of the Illinois Nurses Association. INA joins United Electrical Workers Western Region, Warehouse Workers Organizing Committee, and People United for Action as new member organizations that have affiliated in just the last year!

This growth is a testament to the strength of our vision. We're fighting for a city and a state for the many, not the few. And we'll win it only by building the independent political alternative we need: a people-powered organization that recruits, elects, and supports leaders who come from the rank-and-file of our movements.

Building off of our momentum from this spring, when we were undefeated with a slate of Black and Latinx primary candidates from the ranks of our movements, we've continued to grow this summer:

  • We sent two endorsed candidates from the 2018 primaries, Alma Anaya and Delia Ramirez, along with at-large delegate and Chicago alderman Carlos Rosa, to the border to fight the separation of migrant families and the criminalization of people of color.
  • We launched our first-ever South Side Summer Organizing Institute with teachers and healthcare workers from our rank-and-file.
  • We held a second Movement Leader Camp, training over 50 people, the majority of them women and people of color, in the skills they need to run for office, manage campaigns, and organize local chapters.
  • We raised over $30,000 at our first-ever Trivia for the People summer fundraiser!

And we're just getting started. Join us at our membership convention on September 22 as we chart our next steps to win a city and state for the many, not the few.

What: United Working Families Membership Convention

When: Saturday, September 22, 10 am - 2 pm

Where: Chicago Teachers Union, 1901 W. Carroll Ave, Chicago, IL


Build the power of Black workers with us!

Two weekends ago, over 70 people were shot in Chicago. Last weekend, another 33 were wounded. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families. But our action and anger is directed at the elected officials who continue to allow this to happen. Violence isn't a fact of nature. It's the result of the decisions, made by public officials, to create desperate conditions in communities of color.

It doesn't have to be this way. If there is taxpayer money for Amazon CEOs and Lincoln Park developers, there is public money for schools, jobs, child care, counseling, and healthcare.

That's why United Working Families organized our first-ever South Side Summer Organizing Institute this year. All summer, teachers and healthcare workers have been knocking on doors, organizing meetings, and identifying prospective candidates who come from the ranks of our movements. We're fighting for our right to this city and building the power we need to win.

Want to learn more? Join us at a community canvass this Saturday to hear more about how it's going, and help us build the power we need to fight back.

What: UWF South Side Community Canvass

When: Saturday, August 18, 9:30 am - 12 pm

Where: 617 W. 61st Place, Chicago, IL

Can't join us on Saturday? Consider making a contribution to help support this important work. Link to donate here.

Through United Working Families, rank-and-file labor leaders are building people-powered political organization on the South Side of Chicago. Join us!

Guest post by Candis Castillo: "We just want to live."

“We just want to live,” one woman said. “Our black kids keep getting killed. We just want to live.” - Chicago Sun-Times, July 15, 2018 ----

Yesterday, a Black man named Harith Augustus was shot in the back by the Chicago Police Department.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel will go through the motions: a press conference, a task force, a scapegoat.

Meanwhile, Black families in Chicago live ever more violent and precarious lives in our city: terrorized by the police, destabilized by school closings and joblessness, locked up, pushed out, shot, killed.

It’s not a coincidence that cranes and condos are coming into downtown while Black families are being displaced by the thousands. It’s intentional. The Mayor and his corporate donors, with the support of the overwhelming majority of Chicago’s political class, are turning Chicago into a city for the wealthy few.

Black people have no place in that future city. That’s why they have closed our schools, broken our unions, and locked up our youth. That’s why they’re killing us.

I grew up on the South Side of Chicago. I believe we have a right to Chicago. And as the Organizing Director of United Working Families, I’m working with Black union members to build the people-powered, independent political organization we need to fight for our lives.

Help us fight back. Donate to support our South Side Organizing Institute, and register today for our fall membership convention, where our organizing interns will lead the conversation on how we build a different future together.

Candis Castillo (far left) with members of the first-ever South Side Organizing Institute.

SAVE THE DATE! United Working Families Membership Convention

Saturday, September 22

10 am - 2 pm

Chicago Teachers Union, 1901 W. Carroll


Trivia for the People - Important Info for Teams!

Important Needs and Reminders:
  1. If your org is paying for your team, please purchase your team registration here or bring a check on Thursday. As of July 6, teams that still need to pay for registration are:
    • 10th Ward Troublemakers
    • Bridge Over Trivial Waters
    • Fire Rahm? YUP!
    • Fired Up to Fire Rahm
    • GIA: Geniuses In Action
    • Lucy's Rebels
    • Pizza Club
    • Supreme Nursing Wisdom
    • Team Springfield
    • The Know-It-Alls
    • WOW, Working Out West
  2. If the members of your team are paying individually, please have them do that here before Thursday.
Location and Parking
Trivia for the People is at 1140 W. Monroe. The loft space in the west loop is being donated, so please be mindful of that and try your best not to spill or break anything :). There is street parking as well as a lot with 40 spots available at Kolcraft Enterprises, 1100 W. Monroe. Anyone who parks in this lot needs to display a United Working Families sign in their window- we will have a volunteer located in the parking lot handing those out. Remember, there are only 40 spots, so if you can take public transportation or find a ride, please do so.
When you arrive, please go to 'team registration' at check in and tell the volunteer your team name and your last name. Please make sure all members of your team are aware of your team name beforehand. The team captain will get a packet with materials needed for trivia, including a sign to be displayed on your table.
Please arrive between 5:30-6pm to allow time for parking, registration, etc. Trivia begins promptly at 6:30pm and finishes at 9pm. The trivia team winners get a prize!
Cheating ... for a cause
You can give your team an advantage...for a price! At the beginning of the night, you can bid on a unionized University of Chicago graduate student ringer to join your team (especially useful for the science round, maybe?). Throughout the night, a select number of "free answer passes" will be for sale. Winner of best team name and best team uniform (judged by our celebrity judges) also get one free answer pass.
Food and Drinks
Pizza, vegetable skewers, cookies, and one drink are included in your ticket price (sponsoring teams get additional drink tickets). Additional drinks are available for a suggested donation of $5, so bring cash! We will have wine and punch as well as water and non-alcoholic drinks.
See you Thursday!

In the Trump era, working people need a real political alternative.

Bosses around the country--including the billionaire in Springfield and the con man in DC--are celebrating today's decision by the Trump Supreme Court. The Janus vs. AFSCME Council 31 case was designed to weaken the political power of working people. Underwritten by the wealthiest members of our rigged economy, Janus is a craven attack on the ability of workers to fight for good jobs and robust public services.

But today's decision by Trump's Supreme Court should be no surprise. The bigger question is who will fight back?

In Chicago and Illinois, union jobs in public schools, hospitals, and transportation were a pathway to the middle class for women and Black and Brown families. It was Democrats, not Republicans, who decimated those jobs when they privatized schools, sold parking meters, and closed public clinics. And both Democrats and Republicans refuse to ask their wealthy donors to pay taxes for the flourishing public services we deserve.

In the aftermath of Janus, the attacks on our jobs, schools, and communities will only deepen. Working people need a real political alternative. That’s what United Working Families is here for.

Help us fight back. Sign up today to knock doors, join a committee, or make a donation. We can't do it without you.

What you can do.

My first child turns five months old next week. I hold him tighter as I watch families being detained, separated, and lost to each other on the U.S. border. It is monstrous to separate children from parents who have brought them to this country with the dream of a better life. Keeping families together while locked in cages is wholly insufficient, and no less horrific.

And yet every day, families are being locked up and torn from each other--not just on the border, and not just by Donald Trump. Immigrant families separated by ICE raids. Women on public assistance who live in fear of having their kids taken away. Young people shot, surveilled, and incarcerated in neighborhoods ravaged by public disinvestment.

At United Working Families, we're fighting against deportations, criminalization, and displacement in every way we can. We believe in and are working towards a world in which government protects the dignity of all people, not the wealth of the richest few.

We're taking action in the following ways. I hope you'll join us.

1. Call your elected officials. Demand that they abolish ICE, force Jeff Sessions out, end mass trials, and investigate and hold DHS accountable for the thousands of children separated from their families. Look up the contact information for your representatives in Congress here.

2. Make a donation. If you are able to support work on the border, we suggest Puente, a grassroots migrant justice organization based in Phoenix, AZ. Thank you to our sisters and brothers at Mijente for the recommendation.

3. Sign up to take action. Actions are being planned at the border and locally in Chicago and Illinois in the coming days and weeks. Our young Latinx champions from the 2018 primaries--Alma Anaya, Delia Ramirez, and Aaron Ortiz--are planning to be there. Sign up to join us and we'll be in touch.

The struggle continues. I believe that we will win.

In Solidarity,

Emma Tai

Executive Director

Ed Sadlowski, 1938-2018

¡Presente!  Steelworker and union leader Ed Sadlowski - September 10, 1938 – June 10, 2018

As a rank-and-file union activist and working class labor leader, Ed Sadlowski led from a place of profound respect and love for his fellow workers. Sadlowski and the Steelworkers Fight Back movement that he helped lead laid out a vision for democratic, militant unionism, rooted in our communities that has inspired many of UWF's members and affiliated organizations. While some labor "leaders" tried to curry favor with corporate bosses and politicians, Ed was mounting a battle that inspires organizing in Chicago and across the country to this day. By starting at the grassroots and the shop floor, the fight for workers' rights and the dignity of every working class family in his orbit could be won.

United Working Families sends our deepest condolences to his family and friends  – particularly our sister and Ed’s daughter, Alderwoman Sue Sadlowski Garza. Eddie raised her as a chip off the old block – to fight, like her father, for Chicago's working class communities, first as a member of the Chicago Teachers Union, then as an Alderwoman and member of UWF's Party Committee.

Jesse Sharkey, CTU Vice President and UWF Party Committee Delegate: "Ed said what few in power have the decency to admit: that ordinary workers have intelligence and creativity and grace, and deserve the rights and working conditions that allow us to live with dignity and possibility. I was honored to learn from him, and honored to call him a friend."

Guest post by Rod Wilson: Is your rent too high?

Tell your legislators today that working families deserve rent control. This winter, we talked to thousands of voters about the need for rent control in our city and state and we heard it over and over again - people are struggling to keep up with rising rents. In nine wards across the city, voters were asked if we should lift the ALEC-backed statewide ban on rent control and over 70% of them said yes.

Now legislators in Springfield are considering a bill that would both repeal the ban and bring rent stabilization to Illinois!
Today, housing advocates, renters, and small landlords are on their way to Springfield to ask for a YES vote on the Rent Control Act (SB 3512), which would lift the ban and regulate how much rent can increase. Will you join them by sending an email to your State Senator and Representative and let them know you support SB 3512?
Lift the Ban's Jawanza Malone talks rent control at United Working Families' First Thursday
If you're tired of ever rising rents, send an email to our lawmakers today and tell them you support the Rent Control Act.
In Solidarity,
Rod Wilson
People United for Action & UWF Delegate

PS -- If you haven't already, please consider making a $15, $25, or $50 donation today to help us keep this work going. We're 100% funded by the dues of working people--we can't do this important work without you!

Guest post by Candis Castillo: Black Women Lead.

Working for Delia Ramirez was my first experience managing an electoral campaign. I saw firsthand how powerful it is to have women of color who come from our movements in leadership on the campaign trail--a role that is traditionally dominated by white men.
As a Black woman coming from the labor movement, I'm passionate about growing the next generation of progressive candidates and campaigners of color. So I couldn't be more excited to invite you to a special conversation on May 19 about the strength and brilliance of Black women and how we build an independent political and social movement centered on our issues.
I hope you'll join us for We Rise Up: How Revolutionary Black Women Lead, a collective conversation with Nina Turner, President of Our Revolution, IL State Representative Litesa Wallace, and IL State Representative Carol Ammons.

WhatWe Rise Up: How Revolutionary Black Women Lead

When: Saturday, May 19, 1-4 pm

Where: Chicago State University Breakey Theater, 9501 S. King Dr, Chicago

Space is limited and registration is required to attend. Register here.

Trusting Black women doesn't mean propping us up as symbols--it means putting us in positions to lead the way. Come be a part of a conversation about how we do it.
In Solidarity,
Candis Castillo, Organizing Director

This May Day, support working-class politics.

This May Day, help us build the political power of working people. Last month, United Working Families slate of first-time Black and Latinx candidates was victorious in the Illinois primaries.

Not only that, but our first class of Movement Leader Fellows--young people of color from the rank and file of our movements--were trained and placed on successful campaigns where they laid the foundation for the organizing we need to do after election day.

United Working Families is building the real working-class political power we need to take back our city and state. But we can't do it without you.

In honor of International Workers Day, please consider donating $25, $50, or $100 today to help us build the progressive, people-powered political alternative we need.

Guest post by Aaron Ortiz: I got my start with UWF.

Three years ago, I participated in the United Working Families Fellowship, where I learned how to knock on doors and have real conversations with my neighbors. It helped me realize that I have what it takes to run for office. Just last month, I fought and won against one of the most powerful machines in the state.
During this past election cycle, UWF took up this mantel again. They hosted a team of talented Movement Leader Fellows, who are considering running for office, working on campaigns, or building independent political organizations in their neighborhoods. This Fellowship program gave me an opportunity to be involved in progressive politics and laid the foundation to my campaign, so I am excited to see where this year's cohort is headed!
That’s why I’ll be joining the UWFellows Graduation Celebration on Saturday. Will I see you there?

WhatMovement Leader Fellow Graduation

When: Saturday, April 14th, 2018 from 3 - 5 pm

Where: Cobra Lounge, 235 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60607

*a parking lot is provided, street parking on Fulton is free, and the Ashland green line stop is one block away

Who: Brandon Johnson, Delia Ramirez, Aaron Ortiz, Alma Anaya, and the 2018 class of Movement Leader Fellows

RSVP Here!


On March 20, voters came out in force for our UWF slate of candidates - Brandon Johnson and Alma Anaya for Cook County Commissioner seats, and Delia Ramirez and Aaron Ortiz for State Representative. They are all first time candidates, young people of color who have been active in movements for education justice, immigrant rights, and more.  It was a stunning upset for machine politics and a progressive victory for working families.

These are not just electoral victories. They are organizing victories. They were seeded by our work in the 2015 Chicago elections and powered by the independent political organizations that grew out of those efforts. And they demonstrate that when we organize, we can win.

Can you donate $25, $50, or $100 today to help us keep up the momentum?

This election, United Working Families knocked on thousands of doors, talked to hundreds of voters, and trained a class of fellows in the skills they need to keep organizing and winning. Our staff and board members ran these grassroots campaigns. And we invested early to make sure that our challengers would have the resources they needed to be competitive.

The result? We went four-for-four with first-time candidates and young people of color. And we’re ready to keep taking on corporate politicians with movement candidates.

We’re ready for 2019, 2020, and beyond. But we can’t do it without you! This can be a warning shot for Rahm Emanuel and his rubber-stamp aldermen, but we can’t do it without you! We're building a challenge to the parties of billionaires. Please consider chipping in today.

STATEMENT: People-Powered Victories a “Warning Shot” for Complacent Dems in 2019, 2020

CHICAGO- Following is the statement of Emma Tai, Executive Director of United Working Families (UWF), on the victories of UWF-endorsed candidates in today’s primary elections: Brandon Johnson (Cook County 1), Delia Ramirez (IL House 4), Aaron Ortiz (IL House 1), and Alma Anaya (Cook County 7). “Today, voters came out in force for movement candidates Brandon Johnson, Delia Ramirez, Aaron Ortiz, and Alma Anaya. The United Working Families slate—all first-time candidates and young people of color—took on big-money interests in the Democratic Party, and won.

“These are not just electoral victories. They are organizing victories. These campaigns were seeded by our work in the 2015 city elections and powered by the independent political organizations that grew out of those efforts.

“And we’re not letting up. United Working Families knocked on thousands of doors, talked to hundreds of voters, and trained a class of activists in the skills they need to keep organizing and winning long after today’s election. We’re ready to take on the complacent Democrats who have let violence, gentrification, and unemployment ravage our communities. We’ve said that parties controlled by billionaires can’t represent working families and tonight’s results show that the voters are with us.

“This matters for 2019. Tonight is a warning shot. Rahm Emanuel and his rubber-stamp aldermen should be very afraid.”


United Working Families is an independent political organization by and for the 99%. UWF affiliate members include: Action Now, Chicago Teachers Union, Cook County College Teachers Union, Grassroots Illinois Action, SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana, Warehouse Workers Organizing Committee, People United for Action, Workers United CMRJB, 22nd Ward IPO, 25th Ward IPO, and 33rd Ward Working Families.