Today is Friday, February 25th, 2011. This means that two years ago today Juliana Johnson and I put out this press release announcing the “Chicago Tea Party” that would take place on February 27th, 2009.
I write extensively about what this week entailed in my upcoming book about the movement (announcement coming soon) but wanted to touch briefly on it here.
Often times the February 27th “Nationwide Chicago Tea Party” is overlooked. The April 15th “Tax Day Tea Party,” which we planned some six weeks after, was much bigger and far more publicized. Many refer to the Tax Day Tea Party as the time it all began, but this isn’t true.
Actually, if we really wanted to get technical about it, there were multiple “tea party” type rallies in 2006-07, long before Rick Santelli’s rant or the Ron Paul movement began using the phrase.
As can be seen here, some four years ago the city of Chicago pushed through a 10 cent tax on bottles of water. In protest, Chicagoans took to the Chicago river for what they called a “Chicago Tea Party.”
But there can be no doubt the largest wave of tea party activism was born on February 27th, 2009.
Rick Santelli’s rant came on February 19th of 2009. Literally the next day we were hosting conference calls and plotting what would, a week later, be the “Nationwide Chicago Tea Party.”
When we first began planning, we had five cities with tea parties being organized. It quickly became 20, then finally became 40. So in just a week, with no money or experience in this realm, rallies were planned in 40 cities that resulted in more than 30,000 people hitting the streets on the 27th.
The following video was shot (Dan Proft speaking) in front of the Tribune Tower in downtown Chicago that day.
This was long before any “national tea party organizations” or D.C. groups took “leadership” roles in the movement. This was a very mysterious time and none of us had any idea what it all would lead to.
Of course, as we all know, six weeks later more than 800,000 Americans rallied in more than 850 towns across the nation. Later in 2009 these same Americans would crash townhalls across the country, forcing Democrats to lessen the blow of Obamacare and building the foundation that would eventually lead to a Historic shift in power during the 2010 elections.
Backyard Conservative has a great line-up of pictures from the original Chicago tea party of 2009.
This one shows yours truly leading the march through downtown Chicago (from Daley Plaza to the Tribune Building).
There were many, MANY patriots involved in helping make this day possible. Too many to list here, but I do want to make sure a few name are mentioned as the movement owes them a special thanks for the work that happened that week.
Nationally (helped with the organizing of the 40 cities)
-Michael Patrick Leahy
-Juliana Johnson (tons of media help!)
-Evert Evertson (Megaphone and general get-out-the-word help)
-Richard and Laura Behney (I explain this in my upcoming book, but they both have a special place in my memories from that day)
Happy Birthday Tea Party Movement! You’re the only reason our nation is still surviving with a fighting chance!