MADSA was in the house at the Bernie Sanders for President rally at Morehouse College on Nov. 21. We joined thousands of other Bernie fans, inspired by his political vision of Medicare for All, Collegefor All, a Green New Deal, and Workplace Democracy.
“Table got taken down, but the clip-boarding was very successful,” said MADSA officer Cole Reardon.”Sometimes it’s actually nice preaching to the choir.” Word is we signed up 200 people interested in joining our chapter!
See Bernie’s talk here. (Photos: Steve Eberhardt. Video: Georgia Grassroots Video.)
MADSA’s 13th annual Douglass-Debs awards dinner at Paschal’s restaurant Nov. 9 was a great success. The dinner has been our main fundraiser, enabling us to help our allies and pay our expenses, while honoring leaders of our progressive community and networking with friends and fellow activists from the unions, civil rights and other movements.
This year’s keynote speaker was Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO. That title doesn’t begin to suggest her inspiring, yet down-to-earth oratory, lifting all of us to support labor’s struggles — an especially relevant message right now, as her union just launched a campaign to organize Delta workers! She quoted widely from historic figures such as Mother Jones, Fredrick Douglass and Eugene Victor Debs, and from her own experience as a worker and a woman, assuring us that “Solidarity is stronger than gravity!” Watch her speak here!
Other moving tributes followed to the awardees:
1) The Highlander Research and Education Center, a key resource for progressive organizers since the 1930s (now located in New Market, TN) lost their main building to a right-wing arson attack earlier this year but continues their work undeterred. Member Eric Robertson explained that the award recognizes the continued importance of the center to the current movement for human rights, worker rights and racial justice as well as its role in nurturing such historic figures as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. As the Center was holding its own board meeting that weekend, Annie Thomas, regional organizer for Project South, accepted the award in Highlander’s behalf.
2) Georgia State Representative Renitta Shannon was recognized for her courageous service as one of a few progressive members of the Georgia General Assembly, standing up for women’s reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, and immigrant rights. Her friend Charmaine Davis, SE regional administrator of the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Women’s Bureau, recalled her friendship with Renitta and the awardee’s inspiring career.
3) To top off the celebration, we gave one of our special awards — for “creative activism” — to our own Daniel Hanley, well known for his leadership in every kind of direct action, most recently with the Light Brigade, which provides illuminated signage and projects uplifting slogans onto Atlanta’s night-time cityscape during demonstrations. MADSA founder Milt Tambor presented the award by noting many instances of Daniel’s commitment, courage and creativity — the essential makings of an activist — since he joined MADSA several years ago.
On Nov. 1, Metro Atlanta Democratic Socialists of America brought our own “lanterns” to the Grant Park Halloween Lantern Parade, where observers broke into spontaneous chants of “ABOLISH ICE!” and “Bernie, Bernie!”
All the kids in costume wanted photos taken with the Bernie signs, clearly because they appreciate a political movement capable of addressing the apocalyptic crises of capitalism in their lifetime. (Or they just liked the cool glow of 400 LEDs.)
As small crowds gathered around the signs for photos, MADSA members shared details of Bernie’s agenda for democracy and socialism, along with buttons expressing related demands.
At our October 26th meeting, Metro Atlanta DSA voted to endorse member Andrea Cervone in her re-election campaign for Clarkston City Council. In her time on City Council, she has helped build Clarkston into one of the most progressive cities in the South. In this election, she hopes to win a mandate to broaden the coverage of Clarkston’s non-discrimination ordinance to protect workers on housing assistance; to extend the right to vote in municipal elections to all lawful residents, not just citizens; and to expand the city’s recently piloted participatory budgeting program.
MADSA members plan to help canvass for Andrea in Clarkston on Sunday, November 3rd, ahead of the November 5th election day. MADSA chair Councilman khalid, who serves on the City Council of South Fulton, said he hopes MADSA can become a strong voice in local politics while also continuing our efforts for Bernie Sanders’ presidential candidacy. If you’re interested in running for office or helping with MADSA’s electoral work, contact the electoral committee via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(MADSA electoral committee breakout session at meeting. Photo: Reid Freeman Jenkins)