Tuesday, April 5, 2016

This is what democracy looks like

I thought I heard a rumble as we gathered around a table on the second floor of the Legislative Office Building in our last minute strategy meeting.
I looked at Lori Pelletier, President of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, and she said, "Thunder snow!"
Outside the large window to my left a freak April snowstorm raged.  We had already had word of 2, maybe 3 busses cancelled due to weather.
A few minutes into the meeting Ann Pratt of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group, the event organizer, looked at me and said, "we have a problem."  One of our speakers couldn't make the trip through the snow, we needed someone to speak on access to quality, affordable, public education, preferably a classroom teacher.
And at the last minute.
Jan Hochadel, AFT CT president, was already speaking on a vibrant and fully funded public sector but she had an idea, see if Paul Angelucci will do it.

When we got to the church across the street it was already 3/4 full and people were still streaming in.
When Jan spoke she mentioned marching with the Chicago Teachers Union in their one day strike last Friday. The following evening, in Las Vegas at the PSRP professional issues conference, I had chanted with a contingent of their para educators and school related personnel...
"This is what democracy looks like!"

We streamed out of the church into the snowstorm and crossed the street, back to the LOB.
As the painfully slow process at the medal detectors backed up a thousand people in the cold, wet snow, We chanted....
Whose house.....Our house!

By the time the last speaker finished, nearly a thousand people had filled the lobby and the baloneys, with several hundred more still out in the cold chanting and waiting their turn to enter.
But we had brought our message to the legislators that we demanded:
Democracy in the state and workplace
A vibrant and fully funded public sector
Full access to public education
Good jobs and fair wages
Racial, gender, and ethnic Justice
The 5 core principals of the DUE Justice Coalition
Those that could then marched to city hall, to deliver the same message to the Hartford City Council, who were deliberating whether or not to support the Mayor in an attempt to seize extraordinary powers by declaring Hartford "distressed" and asking for receivership status, which would allow him to gut public services and union contracts.
All of this, combined with a rally of hundreds of Judicial Professionals at the Connecticut Capitol last week brought me to one conclusion.
The CTU PSRP members are right....
This IS what democracy looks like!

No comments: