About 100 local political activists, organizations and some elected officials came out to the Holiday Inn and Suites in Bolingbrook on Saturday for the Will County Resistance Fair.
The free event came about to connect several progressive organizations and causes to Will County residents as sort of a one-stop shop of political networking. The event was organized by Will County Board member Jackie Traynere, D-Bolingbrook, and Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville.
“I think there are a large number of people that are unhappy about what they’re hearing and seeing out of the [Donald] Trump administration,” Foster said. “That was true before the election and even more true now, and I think they’ve come to realize that if they want to protect the best values of our country and a functioning democracy, they have to stand up for truth, justice and the American way.”
Foster spoke to the group and encouraged attendees to get involved, especially in electoral politics, with midterm elections coming up next year and municipal elections in 2019. He praised the efforts of all involved in the event, saying they exhibited “democracy at work.”
There were a number of organizations centered on progressive causes in attendance that were recruiting new members or attracting the attention of curious attendees. They included Planned Parenthood, the Democratic Women of Will County, the Citizens Climate Lobby, the Will County Progressives and the Bolingbrook United Party.
There even was a group called Friends Who March, a grass-roots organization that came out of the Women’s March in January, the day after Trump was inaugurated. Their members came dressed entirely in pink, including angel wings.
Representatives from J.B. Pritzker’s gubernatorial campaign and Marie Newman’s campaign for Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District – which includes all or parts of Crest Hill, Romeoville, Lockport and Lemont – were in attendance.
Aside from the different organizations, there also were a series of talks about everything from misogyny in the 21st century to running for office, and from social and mainstream media to climate change.
Some locals, such as Pat Artman, a Romeoville resident, have been much more politically active since the 2016 presidential election, and have been looking for opportunities to get more involved. Artman, 70, said she has been quite worried about the direction of the country, and she wants more people to get involved and participate in local elections.
She said this was a good outlet to meet new people and maintain connections with like-minded concerned residents, but mostly to not just sit around and complain about what’s going on in the country.
“I wanted to see what else was out there for me to get involved with,” Artman said. “I feel like every day there’s something new to do because it’s so important.”