Maggie Wunderly is a progressive political organizer from Aurora. In 2015, Maggie joined Aurora for Bernie, a group of grassroots volunteers who laid the groundwork until the official Bernie campaign office opened in 2016. She created walklists, ran canvassing events, made calls, and trained volunteers for the Bernie Sanders campaign. Bernie won Aurora and the surrounding collar counties handily.
Maggie was one of only three people from Illinois selected to represent Bernie Sanders on the rules committee at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. She and her colleagues authored and presented several proposals to improve the Democratic primary process. The end result of this meeting was that the DNC agreed to create the Unity Reform Commission, which was tasked with finalizing recommendations on party and primary reforms. Throughout this 2 year commission process, she coordinated with Bernie delegates in other states to ensure that reform advocates attended these meetings around the country, monitored their progress, kept people informed, and shared livestreams from meetings she could not attend. She recruited people to attend the Chicago meetings to talk to committee members and wrote detailed explanations of the reforms to assist them with this task. The final reforms included preventing superdelegates from voting on the first ballot, making the DNC more transparent, making caucuses open and accessible, requiring states to submit plans to push for same day party registration, and combating voter suppression. She hopes these reforms level the playing field for 2020 and beyond.
Maggie is also a founding board member of Progressives of Kane County, which was formed by Bernie volunteers in order to get local progressive candidates elected. She helped write their platform and bylaws and organized coordinated canvassing events for endorsed candidates. She is also chair of her local democratic organization. She has recruited and trained dozens of precinct committeemen and advised candidates running for office.
In 2015, the grassroots, many of whom were new to politics, ran state organizing efforts up until shortly before the 2016 primary. These efforts were crucial to the campaign’s successes. This time around Bernie Sanders enjoys wide name recognition and popularity, and his volunteers have amassed a wealth of experience, but he has a lot more competition as well. It’s imperative these same grassroots organizers start building the foundation again now for 2020.
Stan Williams is a union representative based in Chicago. He has been a part of many political campaigns and movement work. Stan first came into political organizing during Occupy Wall Street and quickly got involved in many of the working groups. He also collaborated with numerous unions in New York City for different mobilizations. In addition to organizing low-wage workers, Stan has been involved in mental health advocacy projects, environmental justice protests, racial justice mobilizations, and prison justice work around the country.
Stan believes we can organize people around issues including student loan debt, medical debt, opioid/drug addiction, access to mental health centers, and many more failings of our current social economy.
Stan is a core member of People for Bernie Sanders and a Co-Founder of African-Americans for Bernie. He traveled to 25 states organizing and campaigning for Bernie Sanders during the 2016 Democratic Presidential primary.
In Stan’s spare time he enjoys bowling, bar trivia, and reading.
Jose Requena grew up in Chicago in the Little Village neighborhood. With a background in creative writing and urban planning, Jose has been involved in organizing efforts such as working on comprehensive immigration reform with Organizing for Action and with local nonprofits such as the Pilsen Alliance. He has volunteered on numerous electoral campaigns and has worked with independent political organizations and the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America to affect his hometown’s politics. He was an early volunteer for the progressive organizations Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats. Jose has worked to connect groups with to the local organizing efforts of national campaigns such as the Poor People’s Campaign and the Sunrise Movement. With so many efforts around the city and country working towards a future to believe in, Jose hopes these grassroots voices will lead the charge to elect Bernie Sanders in 2020. #NotMeUs
Maureen Sullivan is a deeply committed political and community activist in Chicago’s diverse, working-class South Side neighborhood of Bridgeport. She was an elected Delegate in Illinois’ 3rd District for Bernie Sanders during the 2016 election, and is currently President of the Palmisano Park Advisory Council. In 2015, Maureen was a candidate for Alderman against the Chicago “machine,” and was endorsed by the Chicago Teachers Union, National Nurses United, Democracy For America and Windy City Times, among others. Along with Illinois for Bernie Founder Shana East, Maureen hosted Chicago’s first South Side organizing meeting for Bernie in May of 2015, and is proud that both her 11th Ward and 3rd Congressional District went to Sanders in 2016. Maureen is a published historian and real estate professional serving all of Chicago.
Jackrabbit Pollack is a founding member of Interoccupy.net. Interoccupy was a General Assembly sanctioned working group of Occupy Wall Street. It’s purpose was to offer communications infrastructure to the burgeoning grassroots movement. In 2012, he participated in Occupy Sandy, the volunteer disaster relief effort responding to hurricane Sandy. He has provided logistical support for groups fighting for racial justice such as SURJ, Ferguson Action, and Movement for Black Lives. In April of 2015, he began work as one of the core members of People for Bernie with whom he worked through July 2015. He was a co-founder of Illinois for Bernie Sanders (later Illinois Progressive Network). As co-founder of The People’s Revolution, he put on The People’s Convention. This convention, held in Philadelphia in 2016, was a grassroots alternative to the DNC. He was a member of the organizing committee for the March for Racial Justice.
Erica Nanton is an organizer, community leader and activist with The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and was a 2016 graduate of Roosevelt University. She has worked on various social initiatives in Chicago around the issues of education justice, police accountability, racial and economic justice as well as national work in Washington, DC to hold those in power accountable to the people. Erica was born in Miami, Florida and raised by a single mother and grandmother who both immigrated to the U.S. from the Bahamas. Erica has been a part of the fight for The Responsible Business Act, which led to the Cook County minimum wage being raised to $13 an hour. In May of 2017, she marched with a group of activists for 15 days from Chicago to the state capital of Springfield (200 miles) to fight for and organize people across the state for a ‘People and Planet First Budget’ in the wake of the state budget crisis.
She is currently working with a coalition of students, parents and teachers from the Englewood community who are facing the closure of all public high schools in their area, to help them stand up and fight for fully funded public schools. Erica is currently a Co-Chair of The Illinois Poor People’s Campaign, a movement set to carry on the vision and legacy of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She is very proud of both her African-American and Caribbean heritages and works with both American born and immigrant people to fight for justice and equal rights for all, no matter what part of the world a people come from. Erica believes that a true vision for justice must represent not just the United States of America, but that all of our justice and humanity is interconnected to that of the entire globe.
Ahmed Khan is a lifelong resident of Chicago with a decade of civic engagement, political, and non-profit experience. Ahmed has served on numerous civic and non-profit community boards, including as an elected Community Representative on a CPS Local School Council and two-time Chair of the West Rogers Park Community organization. Ahmed also was a candidate for Alderman in Chicago’s 50th Ward during the 2011 municipal elections.
In 2008, he helped form a political action committee, Muslim Democrats, which focused on organizing the American Muslim community across 13 states in support of Barack Obama for President. In 2015, he helped start Draft Biden 2016 to encourage then Vice President Joe Biden to enter the presidential race—with the intent that Democrats should not pursue the assumed coronation of Hillary Clinton. As the group’s Deputy Executive Director, Ahmed supervised outreach with party leaders and elected officials and collaborated on an extensive communications program resulting in mainstream media coverage and generating 250,000 supporters in all 50 states. After the November 2016 elections, Ahmed supported Congressman Keith Ellison’s campaign for DNC Chair. He started the online grassroots effort Draft Keith for DNC, and collaborated with local organizers to produce one of the country’s largest rallies and fundraisers, and was was also in Atlanta for the 2018 DNC elections to gather DNC delegate support for the cause.
During the 2015 Chicago municipal elections, Ahmed worked as a Regional Field Organizer for the mayoral exploratory committee of Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, switching to then Chairman of the Progressive Reform Caucus Alderman Bob Fioretti’s mayoral campaign after an illness forced Lewis out of the contest. There, Ahmed served as Deputy Field/Communications Director. When Fioretti failed to make the runoff, Ahmed then became a Field Organizer for Jesus “Chuy” Garcia out of his Northeast side campaign office.
In 2018, Ahmed joined the board of Our Revolution Illinois which led statewide organizing efforts during the 2018 Illinois primary cycle. Ahmed’s projects at Our Revolution Illinois included spearheading one of the largest gubernatorial forums in the state by garnering over 50 co-sponsors for the event. In addition, he helped build and implement an extensive, thorough endorsement process from scratch and led communications outreach for supported candidates with more than a dozen finding success in the 2018 midterms.
Shana East is a grassroots organizer living in Chicago, Illinois. She advocates for progressive policies, both in the US and abroad.
When not working full time at a non-profit benefiting older adults, Shana is producing and hosting “To the Left with Sameena and Shana,” which broadcasts live on WCPT 820 “Chicago’s Progressive Talk” Sundays at 1pm. She has spoken internationally on a variety of subjects, and has a formal non-member relationship with the Party of the European Left. She is also an elected delegate to the Our Revolution Illinois State Organizing Committee, is on the Illinois Coordinating Committee for The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, and is a member of a number of progressive organizations including United Working Families, Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Northside Democracy for America, Chicago Democratic Socialists of America, and the Illinois Single Payer Coalition.
Shana began her foray into electoral politics in early 2015, as a consultant on Chuy García’s mayoral campaign team during a historic runoff election. She then went on to be a founding member of The People For Bernie Sanders, before co-founding the grassroots, volunteer-run campaign Illinois for Bernie Sanders (later Illinois Progressive Network). In a state not previously seen as viable campaign ground, Shana and her army of volunteers amassed enough critical support to bring the official Bernie 2016 Presidential Campaign to their state.
In 2016, Shana became a staff member on Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, which won Bernie 79 of Illinois’ 102 counties, 11 of 18 congressional districts, and almost a million votes. Later that year, she was a lead organizer of The People’s Convention; a ‘shadow convention’ that took place in Philadelphia during the same week as the DNC Convention.
Shana is looking forward to the epic re-launch of Illinois for Bernie, and to a potential People’s Convention in Milwaukee come 2020!
Jeanne Marie Dauray has worked as an organizer, activist, and lobbyist in relation to issues, legislation and candidates across her lifetime. Her solid jump to the left began in the 1980s when her single mother found herself working for a close friend of David Koch, and her family was coerced into attending political events and fundraisers for the Republicans and Libertarians who would create the Tea Party movement decades later. Jeanne saw the dangers in this and headed to Washington, DC for college. Early projects included leading presentations and discussions on the situation in Northern Ireland, working the AIDS Walk, doing environmental cleanups, and helping to find resources for pregnant teens.
In recent years, Jeanne worked as part of the national team at Progressive Democrats of America, and assisted in their campaign to recruit Bernie Sanders for a presidential run. Continuing forward, she was asked by the campaign to help do delegate selection in Illinois and later handled management of the delegates going to the convention. She has assisted in writing and securing co-sponsors for both state and federal legislation, and consulted on several congressional campaigns. Jeanne Marie was also part of the leadership of ERA Action, which worked to resurrect the Equal Rights Amendment campaign. During the campaign she assisted in the recruitment of congressional members to carry the bill, managed lobbying teams for the purpose of ratification in Illinois, did fundraising, gave speeches, and assisted with those working in other states to move the amendment. She is excited to bring her experiences to Illinois for Bernie and hopes to bring the nomination to Senator Sanders in 2020.
Hillary Colby has a 15 year history as a climate change activist. She spent years working to stop the growth of the fossil fuel infrastructure. In 2015, she attended her first Bernie 2016 campaign rally in Madison, Wisconsin and was hooked. Hillary volunteered with the grassroots campaign Illinois for Bernie as well as volunteering in the neighboring states of Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa. She helped gather signatures in the 11th congressional district to get Bernie Sanders and his Delegates on the ballot. In 2016, Hillary served as a Delegate for Bernie Sanders at the 2016 DNC Convention.
In advance of the 2020 election, Hillary is eager to ensure that Illinois is ready for Bernie Sanders by building a statewide coalition so that folks from Gurnee to Carbondale will get involved to elect him as our next President.