I was struck not just by the number of people who attended the event, but by the variety of backgrounds and the very real stories everyone shared about their life in the great recession and their vision of the future of the American Dream. We heard stories of struggle, of loss of jobs, of the inability to retire, of healthcare concerns and more. In short, we heard the story of modern America.
In the midst of the stories of each person’s struggle, we also saw the spark that makes America great. When the conversation turned from our personal stories to the question of what can be done, to a person, our attention turned from our personal struggles to true concern for America and our fellow Americans.
Part of the framework for the Rebuild the Dream meeting was to review some of the most popular ideas as submitted and voted on the Rebuild the Dream website. Ultimately we voted on our top three issues. I was surprised at our top selection, and I’m not sure I could have predicted it. After an hour of discussion, debate and voting our group concluded that for Bay Ridge the most important issues of concern are:
1. The Need to Eliminate Corporate Personhood
Interestingly, this issue received over twice as many votes as the number two issue.
2. Establish Medicare for All
3. Stop the Assult on Unions and Workers’ Rights
Rebuild the Dream is focused on action, not just words, and so is our group. On Monday we delivered our top 3 concerns to Congressman Michael Grimm’s office with the promise that we will be checking back with the Congressman in a few weeks to see what his plan will be to address our concerns. While there we asked the Congressman to do everything he could to end the senseless debate and raise the debt ceiling so congress can get back to work on the issues that affect citizens.
In the days and weeks that follow, we will continue to meet and most importantly continue to act. Inspired by my fellow attendees, I will be offering up a series of articles on our key issues above. Keep an Eye on the articles in the side bar and submit your ideas or concerns. Also stay tuned as we’ll be announcing additional meetings soon.
Issue One: Eliminate Corporate Personhood