Chicago, IL – 130 activists from all the people’s movements gathered for the annual People’s Thanksgiving awards dinner, Nov. 19, hosted by Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO). The event is a fundraiser for Fight Back News and for Rasmea Odeh.
25 years ago, Freedom Road Socialist Organization in Chicago held the first anti-Thanksgiving dinner to protest the racist campaign to celebrate 500 years since the ‘discovery’ of America by Columbus. Speaking about the 25th annual event, Joe Iosbaker of FRSO said, “This year, we wanted to provide support to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe for the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Unfortunately, our guest speaker, LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, the tribal historian, was snowed-in the Denver airport for 24 hours and missed her flight to Chicago.” Still, the crowd gave a warm welcome to a young indigenous woman who read a statement from Allard. Ninoshka Lozano is a student activist with the American Indian Support Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a member of the Quechua people of Peru in South America.
Awards were presented to: Aislinn Pulley, Black Lives Matter – Chicago; Michael Brunson, Recording Secretary – CTU and Chair – CTU Black Caucus; Cassie Robledo and Juan Rojas, leaders of the Dump Trump protest at UIC; and Dave Bernt, Teamsters United, the reform slate that almost unseated President Hoffa and his sell-out administration.
$1000 was raised for Fight Back! and over $1600 for the defense campaign of Rasmea Odeh – who is still being persecuted by the government and has a upcoming hearing in federal court in Detroit, Nov. 29. Many people in the audience responded to the appeal from Hatem Abudayyeh of the Arab American Action Network to travel to Detroit to stand with the iconic Palestinian activist.