The Midwest Academy is a training organization that works to advance "movements for progressive social change by teaching strategic, rigorous, results-oriented approach to social action and organization building. The Academy provides training (introductory and advanced) and consulting" for organizers, leaders, and their organizations.
Board of directors
The 2009 Midwest Academy board of directors consisted of;
- Heather Booth President
- Nancy Shier Treasurer
- Alicia Ybarra SEIU
- Cathy Hurwit (Rep. Jan Schakowsky)
- Paul Booth AFSCME
- Jacky Grimshaw, Center for Neighborhood Technology
- Jackie Kendall Executive Director Midwest Academy
In 2014, the Midwest Academy board consisted of;
- Heather Booth, Chair
- Jackie Kendall, Secretary/Treasurer
- Paul Booth, Director (AFSCME)
- Robert Creamer, Director (Strategic Consulting Group)
- Jacky Grimshaw, Director (Center for Neighborhood Technology)
- Judy Hertz, Executive Director
- Mike Lux, Director (Progressive Strategies)
- Eddy Morales, Director (Democracy Alliance)
- Alicia Ybarra, Director (SEIU)
- Probably the most well-known organizing method is Alinskyism, named after Saul Alinsky, a Chicago-born community organizer who helped set up the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council and later the Industrial Areas Foundation in the 1930s.(Today in New York Alinskyism can be found in groups that do neighborhood-based organizing like ACORN, Mothers on the Move, TICO as well as NYPIRG). The Mid-West Academy is a training center set up by members of DSA that draws heavily from Alinskyism.
Earlier activities of the Midwest Academy by year
The following article about the leftist Midwest Academy appeared in the Sept. 23, 1985 edition (Issue #367) of The American Sentinel newsletter which described itself as "Your Inside Report on National Defense, Foreign Affairs and Internal Security".
"The leftist Midwest Academy in Chicago recently brought together over 1,000 liberals and leftist activists for a conference, whoe theme was: "Building Democratic Populism." The Midwest Academy is a school set up by former members of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the far-left activist group. The Academy's leaders have included Heather Booth, wife of former SDS leader Paul Booth."
Groups Attending the Conference Included:
- The Citizens Action network of statewide consumer groups
- Mass Fair Share, from Massachusetts
- Campaign for Economic Democracy (CED), Tom Hayden's political group
- ACORN, the activist group
Speakers at the Conference Included:
- Rep.Lane Evans (D-Ill)
- Sen.Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), one of the Senate's most radical members
- Sen.Paul Simon (D-Ill)
- The Rev. Jesse Jackson - the ex-presidential candidate and head of the Rainbow Coalition
- Owen Bieber - head of the radical United Auto Workers Union (UAW)
- Jim Hightower - Texas Agriculture Commissioner
- California State Assemblyman Tom Hayden - head of the Campaign for Economic Democracy, a founder of SDS, and "Mr. Jane Fonda."
Planning to Take Over Local Governments: "Conference participants planned a national agenda that supported an 'anti-arms race' defense policy (translation: unilateral disarmament) and an 'anti-intervention' foreign policy (translation: complete American isolationism in the face of Soviet Imperialism)."
"Conference goers discussed methods of taking over local governments, and penetrating government agencies, as they have done so already in Burlington, Vt., Berkeley and Oakland, Calif., and Detroit, Mich."
- Progressive Leadership Award - Jenn Brown, Battleground Texas
- Progressive Leadership Award - Luis Gutierrez
- 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award - Eliseo Medina
- 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award - John Lewis
Midwest Academy 2014 Awards
- Progressive Leadership Award - Lee Saunders, AFSCME
- Heather Award - Saru Jayaraman, Co-Founder and Co-Director, Restaurant Opportunities Center United
- 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award - Gloria Steinem
2014 Gala Host Committee, for December 10 Midwest Academy Awards Ceremony;
- Fred Azcarate — Executive Director, USAction - Midwest Academy alumni
- Deepak Bhargava — Executive Director, Center for Community Change
- Michael Brune — Executive Director, Sierra Club
- Julie Burton — President, Women’s Media Center
- Larry Cohen — President, Communications Workers of America (CWA)
- Molly Daniels — Deputy President, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACSCAN) - Midwest Academy alumni
- Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez — US Congress
- Wenonah Hauter — Executive Director, Food and Water Watch - Midwest Academy alumni
- Wade Henderson — President, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
- Mary Kay Henry — International President, SEIU
- Kierra Johnson — Executive Director, URGE (formerly Choice USA)
- Anna Lefer Kuhn — Executive Director, Arca Foundation
- Rep. John Lewis — US Congress
- Maxwell Love — President, United States Student Association (USSA) - Midwest Academy alumni
- Karen Nussbaum — Executive Director, Working America- Midwest Academy alumni
- Douglas Phelps — President, The Public Interest Network (TPIN)
- Cecile Richards — President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA)
- Rep. Jan Schakowsky — US Congress - Midwest Academy alumni
- Roger Smith — President, American Income Life (AIL)
- John Stocks — Executive Director, National Education Association (NEA)- Midwest Academy alumni
- John Taylor — President and CEO, National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC)
Midwest Academy December 12, 2016.
ONLY 2 DAYS LEFT until the Midwest Academy Awards in Washington DC! Help us honor Joel Silberman, Janice Fine, Wade Henderson, and Mary Kay Henry for all the amazing progressive work they have been working to accomplish for years!
2018 Supervisors of Organizers Workshop
Class of March 2017
Midwest Academy March 16, 2017.
Presenting the Midwest Academy Class of March 2017 in Sierra Madre, California! — with Judy Hertz, Jasmin Zafra, Abdul-Basit Haqq, Sandra Rodriguez, Cesar Miguel Vega Magallon, Eduardo Torres, Devon J. Crawford, Brenda Villanueva, Kweli Kitwana, Tim Hoang, Ed Washatka, Roshann P, Cassidy Jones, Anthony L. Davis, Anthony Mitchell, Maggie Acuna and Tanisha M. Amilcar.
Midwest Academy, August 18, 2017 ·
Our Chicago August 2017 Alum are fired up!! — with Andrea Guadalupe Leon, Rocio Maryvel García Almazan, Sara Kille, Denisse Orozco, Maartje Eigeman, Erin Moore, A. Garcia Rayburn, Monica Gurmilan and Madeline Suggs.