Joe Chabot was ERAP’s first organizer in Chicago. Chabot opened the first JOIN office just a few doors away from the Unemployment Compensation Office on North Kedzie Avenue. With co-organizer Dan Max, one JOIN organizer would leaflet the UCO and the other would stay behind to talk with workers who visited in response to the leaflet. In the first week, roughly one hundred people came into the JOIN office. According to an internal ERAP paper, about 80 unemployed people took on a regular role in JOIN with about ten to fifteen assuming leadership roles.
After less than a year, however, Chabot seemed defeated by one of ERAP’s first lessons—that change would be painfully slow, at least at first. Chabot left and JOIN moved out of the Downtown Loop. The chapter was permanently relocated to the Uptown neighborhood, focusing attention on a wider range of pressing, and therefore actionable, community issues: welfare, housing conditions, unemployment and police brutality. As more student organizers began to arrive in Chicago, JOIN also welcomed an influx of community members who became a steady force in the organization. From Uptown, Peggy Terry, Dovie Coleman and her niece Dovie Thurman, Dorothy Perez, Dominga Alcantar, Mary Hockenberry and Candy Hockenberry, Virginia Bowers, Terry’s son Doug Youngblood, Junebug Boykin and Bobby McGinness were joined by SDS organizers Richie Rothstein and Vivian Rothstein, Mike James, Diane Fager, Pat Sturgis, Steve Goldsmith, Todd Gitlin and Nancy Hollander, among others from both the community and the student movement