Steve Alesch is the social media coordinator of the Illinois Green Party and the Chair of the DuPage Green Party. He joined formally around 2006 during the Rich Whitney campaign. He remembered he had watched Ralph Nader on CSPAN on election day in 2004 and everything ‘just made sense’. Alesch said he didn’t know much about the Green Party until then. He was libertarian because of the social issues, but the regulations and economic issues didn’t match his beliefs and the direction he felt we needed to go as a country.
Alesch himself ran for congress in 2008 capturing 2.78% of the vote loosing to Judy Biggert (R). He says he doesn’t believe in choice voting and works hard to try to change the mindset of a two party country. There are currently 3,450 ILGP members and 12,600 supporters (which includes members). In 2006 our Governor candidate, Rich Whitney, received 361,336 (10.4%) votes. More recently in 2016 Jill Stein received 76,802 (1.4%) votes in Illinois. After Jill Stein ran for President local chapters and membership was reignited. There are two new chapters: Lake County and Prairie Greens in Champaign. There are also several officially applying and inaugural meetings are happening. The inaugural Will County meeting will be Tuesday, March 14th.
“Jill stein raised a lot of money for a recount and must spend on election reform,” Alesch noted. “She still has fireside chats weekly and will be present at the conference on election reform in Washington, DC.”
Regardless of party affiliations, many of the members are active in their communities, attending rallies like the Women’s March and also hold positions as elected officials. They also want to make Illinois a sanctuary state and has been working with Immigrant Solidarity DuPage. They approached the sheriff’s office to discuss making DuPage a sanctuary county, but were not received. Sanctuary cities and states have been in the media recently as Trump has threatened to crack down and cut funding of cities that provide sanctuary.
Another outside organizations Alesch has been active in is Move to Amend who’s mission is to abolish corporate personhood.
“Many greens are still active on this,” he says. “It is for the We the People amendment and we are adding sponsors year over year. We approach elected officials to ask they endorse it and last year got a question poll on the ballot in Illinois in several geographic areas. 1.3 million people out of the 3 million voters. We want to pass a resolution to abolish corporate personhood and money as speech. There are eleven or twelve states across the country that are doing this.”
The Illinois Green Party will be having their state meeting March 25th at the Oak Park Library.
For more information about the Illinois Green Party, please go to ILGP.org
To read the article on San Diego as a Sanctuary City, click here.
To learn more about Move to Amend, click here.
To learn more about Immigrant Solidarity DuPage, click here.
"Human Rights are an inconvenience. They are seen as inconvenient to progress by governments, corporations, or organizations. They are seen as obstacles and only valued by a small portion of citizens, who are often the victims, the marginalized or the forgotten. It is up to us, as to remind our governments and our communities that human rights confer the very basic dignity and respect that all humans deserve." ~ Benjamin Wolf (read the entire address)
"I thought tonight's event was excellent. I loved each and every speaker," Jess Lyzun said, capturing the feeling of the intimate evening. "There has to be a way to get people to engage. Beautiful event. So grateful to have been invited."
World Relief DuPage /Aurora. Stand with the Vulnerable.
"There are 27 million refugees and less than 1% go to any 3rd country," said Alison Bell, Senior Resettlement Manager of World Relief DuPage/Aurora. "So why three countries? Their first country is the country they are fleeing from due to war or persecution, so they can't stay there. The second country is where they flee to and the third country is where they can find refuge. Often a refugee will live in a refugee camp for 10 years. Now, imagine, if youre fleeing, what can you bring? Not much, right?"
World Relief helps refugees with everything from basic every day items to finding a good neighborhood to resettle in. Alison makes the analogy about getting into an elevator and that initial discomfort you might feel being looked at or being in front of strangers. World Relief realizes the emotional state and fragility people may be in when being forced to relocate often to a new country in such a way and strives to embrace these newcomers with warmth and smiles. Alison pointed out that her cousin’s family fled to Canada fleeing persecution from Russia and how that is common among us. "So, it isnt just 'some' story," she says. "It's many of our stories."
World Relief DuPage is an eighty plus person staff joining with over 125 local churches and 800 volunteers to serve 5,500 refugees and immigrants each year.
Read more here> http://worldreliefdupage.org/
According to the worldwide World Relief website, 'the number of people in our world displaced from their homes by violence and persecution is unprecedented in human history. By the end of 2015, over 65 million people were forcibly displaced, with nearly a third–20 million–living outside of their countries as refugees."
3 Things You Can Do for Refugees Right Now
Hesed House. Because everyone deserves dignity.
Elise Manzie, Assistant Director of Development at Hesed House has been volunteering at Hesed House since she was four years old. There are now more than ten thousand volunteers and donors and, as she says, "the goal is to put ourselves out of business." Hesed House is the second largest homeless shelter in the second largest city in the Illinois.
In a very human moment, she told a story about a mother and 6 year old daughter that had gotten evicted. She worked a year and a half living at Hesed House to pay off what she owed from the eviction.
"It is very difficult to find some place to go and to find some place safe," Elise stated. "And it is very difficult to find a rental after being evicted. They probably will never be able to rent from some place corporate owned. But the day came when she found a new place to live and she was so nervous and excited she had a hard time telling her daughter who had just turned 7 for fear of something going wrong. When I asked her what kind of mattress she would like, she said, 'Well, we've been sleeping on mats on the floor for a year and a half so it really doesnt matter' and I just had to step back for a moment and realize this tender situation.”
Hesed House offers not only 'eats and sheets', but also substance abuse counseling, mental health counseling and other resources. From January to today they have helped 266 obtain employment or job training, 193 obtain Veterans benefits or other benefits and 405 obtain housing.
Read more about them> http://www.hesedhouse.org/
Want to Help?
Donate, Volunteer or check out their Needs List> http://www.hesedhouse.org/needs-list/
Maybe attend an Event> http://www.hesedhouse.org/events-calendar/
Reclaim 13. Love is Greater than Fear.
JT Porte has two teenage girls and after one was persued by a guy in a car when she was 12 years old he knew he had to do something. The man was persistent, he said. She was with her cousin who said she was going to call the police, but he just circled back around.
"For a long time I was paralyzed because I felt like this was something that was really big," said Porte, "and I didn't know how to do something about it. A lot of people think this is going on oversees - an it is going over sees - but it is definitely going on here as well."
Reclaim 13's Cherish house is where rescued children and teens go to reclaim the life they were supposed to have. 13 is the average age of children who are trafficked. Often these children are still pursued by the people who were selling them. These children and teens testify in court, so not only would a pimp try to steal back the child, they try to avoid being tried in court. The Reclaim 13 team displayed letters from some girls who lived at Cherish House.
Porte invited the audience to join a walk/ run in Downers Grove, participate in the online charity challenge or even to choose to pray.
"We ask that you also pray for the people that are doing this," he said, "That they would just wake up and see what they are doing."
According to the website, 'adolescents with backgrounds of neglect, violence, and abuse are most vulnerable to predators. This means 250,000 to 350,000 children in the U.S. are at-risk for further victimization. 70-90% of girls sexually exploited in the U.S. were sexually abused before they were recruited into commercial sex trafficking. [These children need to be told] abuse is not ok. Children who are sexually abused often times do not reach out for help because they feel ashamed or are threatened.'
Read More > http://www.reclaim13.org/
or click here for information on the National Human Trafficking Hotline
"It’s incredibly important to me that we talk about these things," said event organizer, Diana Piedra.
The event was hosted by Alive Center in Naperville that provides free drop in care from 3-6pm (6th grade and up). There are an array of activities for them to find what makes them come alive: Games, Mentoring, Girls club, Life Skills, Science exploration, tutoring, Teen Led Teen Driven and more.
Check out some events coming up at Alive Center:
Professor of International Human Rights and US Congressional Candidate:
"I want to thank Diana [Piedra] and the Alive Center for inviting us here tonight.
I’m grateful to be in a space that values peace, collaboration and the philosophies associated with a human rights movement.
I’ve had a busy yet peculiar day: It started at 8am as I participated in something called a Polar Plunge. This entails jumping into lake Michigan in the midde of winter. I was informed this would be fun and exilerating. I may have been misinformed, as I am fairly certain that I am exhibiting symptoms of hypothermia.
This afternoon I received a call from a friend that is a White House correspondence and he began asking me questions about Russians infiltrating the White House, an Attorney General and National Security Advisor resigning after only a few weeks of an administration, and other topics that I never imagined we would ever witness.
So, again, I’m happy to be here in this safe space, with no cold water, no Russians. I prefer just talking about peace.
In discussing human rights, its important to remember that the topic is rarely uplifting. We often discuss it from academic or scholastic perspectives, which can be oftentimes misleading. So its important to frame my experience with security and human rights as one of experience and service.
I was recruited by the FBI while still in college and worked for years within the CT and CI national security squads. During this time, I saw my first mass casualty incident and began to quickly understand the reality and fragility of human life.
I then transferred to the State Department as a diplomat as which I became a security and human rights attaché, working in over 65 countries. I lived in North and West Africa, the Middle east, served in Iraq multiple times, was assigned to the UN, INTERPOL and worked on Secretary Condoleezza Rice’s personal staff. I have proudly served three presidents and four secretaries of state.
Human rights courses take months to discuss, understand and synthesize all aspects of the law, diplomacy, anthropology, psychology and of course international affairs. We only have a few minutes.
So I’ll discuss three main points that I think are relevant today.
1. Human Rights are an inconvenience. They are seen as inconvenient to progress by governments, corporations, or organizations. They are seen as obstacles and only valued by a small portion of citizens, who are often the victims, the marginalized or the forgotten. It is up to us, as to remind our governments and our communities that human rights confer the very basic dignity and respect that all humans deserve.
2. Human Rights, much like life, all depend of perspective. A very well known CIA agent that worked counterterrorism recently retired and was asked to sum up her career in one sentence. She stated the following: Everybody thinks they are the good guys. We all think we are doing the right thing from our own perspective. Governments, groups and even individuals all have the same forward notion that they and they alone are correct in their words, actions and thoughts. We must ensure that in these actions, we are always protecting and defending each and every person’s basic human rights as detailed and ratified in the United Nations Declaration of Human rights.
3. In our current political climate, people often ask me, Benjamin what can we do? We feel afraid, powerless and confused. I explain that they are more powerful than they know. As president Obama stated, the most powerful positions is not that of president, but that of citizen. Talk to your family, your neighbors, and your friends. Having events like this (right here) can change peoples minds, can open their hearts. Most of all, continue to demand more of your elected officials. Vote and vote for those that appreciate people, not corporations. Our campaign is being based on equality, peace and education. These are the three most basic tenants of human existence and we will continue to maintain a world view that is rooted in compassion.
We thank you very much for inviting us to be here with you tonight.
We will stay as long as we can and I hope to meet you all and answer any questions."
Learn More About Benjamin Wolf> https://www.wolfforcongress.org/
Tomorrow, Sunday, March 5th at 5:30pm we will gather at Alive Center in Naperville to meet representatives from World Relief, Reclaim 13 and Hesed House. Benjamin Wolf, a professor of International Human Rights, will be our main speaker for the evening. We hope you will join us and show your support for these charitable organizations and the good things they are doing for people all around us.
You know, we often don't see the good people do and we often don't see the turmoil people suffer. We shield ourselves with our outer layers, yet we know there is a deeper side. Sometimes we forget that we are all running on the same energy and fuel and oxygen and that our veins are coursing with the same blood. Not to discount our individual uniqueness, which is where our depth lies and as we were growing up we were taught to be polite and kind and respectful. The basic tenets of all religion is to love although sometimes what we lack is understanding and empathy.
We need to SLOW DOWN in our moments and not rush to judgement prematurely and truly see each other for our humanity. Please read more about these charities by clicking on them: World Relief, Reclaim 13 and Hesed House.
Read more about the organizer of this event, Diana Piedra, and her story.
About Benjamin Wolf:
Born and raised in Kent, Ohio by two public school teachers, Benjamin quickly learned the core values of education and hard work. At the age of twelve, Benjamin discovered the pleasure of public service while working for the local parks and recreation department. He continued volunteering with city and state organizations throughout his formative years.
After completing a university fellowship on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., Benjamin was recruited by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He graduated from the F.B.I. Academy and worked for years within the National Security Division on the highest priority terrorism, intelligence and international security matters.
Benjamin later transferred to the U.S. Department of State as an executive advisor and earned a commission as a Foreign Service Officer while advancing American diplomatic efforts abroad. He actively and loyally served four Secretaries of State and advised dozens of U.S. ambassadors. He received his Foreign Service tenure directly from Secretary Clinton and often traveled with Presidential envoys as a security and human rights liaison. Benjamin volunteered to work in conflict and war zones while protecting and defending the lives of others. He also has served five separate times in Iraq.
Benjamin lived in North and West Africa for many years where he collaborated with international agencies including the World Bank, the United Nations, and the Red Cross. Created by President John F. Kennedy, the Peace Corps is Benjamin's favorite agency and was his inspiration to be a change agent overseas. It was during his years working in developing countries that Benjamin learned a new sense of appreciation that he translated into empowerment programs, job creation, skill-building and education initiatives.
Upon completion of his Ph.D. in International Psychology, Benjamin will continue working in Chicago as a professor, an advocate for international human rights and global justice issues and proud father. His doctoral dissertation focuses on social movements and how basic human rights must be applied equally to every human regardless of race, gender, national identity or economic status. This idea sits at the cornerstone of his personal and political values.
More about Benjamin Wolf.