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People’s Thanksgiving: FBI, Grand Jury Repression Won’t Stop Us

By staff |
December 8, 2010
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Tracy Molm
Tracy Molm speaking at the People's Thanksgiving in Chicago. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Chicago, IL - The 19th annual People’s Thanksgiving, a fundraiser for Fight Back! newspaper, was held here Dec. 4. It was the largest ever, with over 200 in attendance, and raised an incredible $7000 for the defense of the 17 Midwest anti-war and solidarity activists under attack by the FBI.

The crowd was filled with workers and the oppressed from the front lines in Chicago, including Fearless Leading by the Youth, active in housing and other community struggles, and one of whose leaders, Damian Turner, died tragically this past summer. The group and Turner’s family pledged to continue his work for the people. Other groups honored were Warehouse Workers for Justice, who are following the spirit of the Republic Windows and Doors Workers with their effort to organize their industry; the Immigrant Youth Justice League, who helped re-ignite the immigrants rights movement this spring with their slogan, “Undocumented and unafraid;” the Caucus of Rank and File Educators, who have renewed the Chicago Teachers Union with their election and the Whittier Parent Committee, whose sit-in to demand a library for their children drew the attention of the entire country this fall.

The focus of the evening was the speeches by three of the 17 activists subpoenaed to appear before the Grand Jury. Sarah Smith, one of the three targeted by the FBI just the day before, told the story of how the FBI agent misled her, asking her to answer questions without a lawyer present. He told her she “…was not in any trouble and that they just had a few questions.” She only learned of the subpoena when a lawyer spoke to the FBI on her behalf.

As Hatem Abudayyeh - another subpoenaed person - spoke, his child and the child of another couple, Tom Burke and Caryl Sortwell, also targeted in the September raids, played on the stage behind him. Abudayyeh introduced Tracy Molm, one of the three women who was told she will have to appear in front of the Grand Jury. If they do not testify, Tracy Molm, Sarah Martin and Anh Pham could be jailed in Chicago soon.

Despite this, Tracy told the crowd, “I will not back down to the U.S., Zionist-supporting government. I will not apologize for my trip to Palestine.” Describing the young students who have rallied in her defense, she said, “My fears - that the raids and subpoenas would scare people newly joining the movement - have been totally baseless.”

When Tracy appealed to the room, “I ask you to stand up with me against this repression because I am doing it for the movements that we all stand for,” the entire room stood and pledged that they will be there, even at the door of the Metropolitan Correction Center in Chicago if necessary.