Interview with Joseph Gardner

OK, tell me what was involved in boycotting ChicagoFest.


Well I received a call on Sunday, ah, after Reverend Jackson had been on a radio show, ah, at home and he asked me, ah, to start trying to mobilize, ah, leaders in the Black and Hispanic community primarily, ah, to see if in fact we could pull off this boycott. And he asked me, what did I think? I said, I think we can do it. I said, I think it certainly is an issue that, ah, is worthy of our attention and it may be one of those kind of, I call cross cutting issues, that cut across racial and ethnic and, and class lines and it would be the kind of thing that people could come together out of their outrage over the actions of, ah, mayor Byrne in terms of her appointees at the Chicago Housing Authority and the Board of Education. And so, I never will forget. We called a meeting that Wednesday at PUSH. And we really didn't know how many people would come, ah, because, ah, our community had been somewhat fractionalized for some time. And there was just this outpouring of people. The meeting started out. We had about 50 people at the time the meeting was to start. In another half an hour there were 150. By the time we got into the meeting there were three or four hundred people. And I remember, ah, remarking to Reverend Willie Barrow who was, ah, also on the staff of Operation PUSH, the national director of Operation PUSH at the time. I said, I think we've got a movement. Because just that kind of outpouring of people from all backgrounds and walks of life, some of whom historically had not worked together, to come together at PUSH for that purpose was a good sign.