Bobby Rush

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Bobby Rush

Template:30seconds Template:TOCnestleft Bobby L. Rush is a far left Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 1st district of Illinois. He is married to Carolyn Rush.

Rush is an honorably discharged Army veteran and an ordained minister with a Master’s Degree in Theology. In addition to his congressional responsibilities, Rush is the pastor of the Beloved Community Christian Church of Chicago.

He and his wife of more than years, Carolyn Rush , have a blended family with six children including a son who lost his life to gun violence in 1999.[1]

Early life

Bobby Rush was born in Albany, Georgia on November 23, 1946. His family moved to Chicago when he was young, where they settled on the West Side. Bobby Rush attended Marshall High School.

After dropping out of high school, Rush joined the U.S. Army in 1963, joining the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee in 1966. He went AWOL in 1968, co-founded the state's Black Panther Party while stationed in Chicago and received an honorable discharge in 1968.[2]

Bobby Rush 1969, Black Panther

Throughout the 1960s Rush was involved in the civil-rights movement. He worked in civil-disobedience campaigns in the South, and co-founded the Illinois chapter of the Black Panthers in 1968 and was made its "defense minister". His son, Huey, was named after Panther leader Huey Newton. "We were reacting to police brutality, to the historical relationship between African-Americans and recalcitrant racist whites," Rush later told People magazine. "We needed to arm ourselves." Rush was present when fellow Black Panther Fred Hampton was killed in a police raid and later made a official statement that the police, referred only to as "pigs" by Rush, had murdered Hampton. Rush's own apartment was raided in December 1969 where police discovered an unregistered pistol, rifle, shotgun and pistol ammunition, training manuals on explosives and booby traps, a small amount of marijuana and an assortment of communist literature. [3]

Earlier that same year Rush stated the philosophy his membership in the Black Panthers saying, "Black people have been on the defensive for all these years. The trend now is not to wait to be attacked. We advocate offensive violence against the power structure.

Imprisoned for six months in 1972 on a weapons charge after carrying a gun into a police station, Rush nonetheless worked on several non-violent projects that built support for the Black Panthers in African American communities. He coordinated a medical clinic that offered sickle-cell anemia testing on an unprecedented scale. Rush graduated with honors from Chicago's Roosevelt University in 1973. A year later he left the Panthers, who were already in decline. "We started glorifying thuggery and drugs," he told People. That was distasteful to the deeply religious Rush, who is a born-again Christian. He went on to say that "I don't repudiate any of my involvement in the Panther party—it was part of my maturing."[5] He subsequently resumed his education in the early 1990s at the McCormick Seminary and received a master's degree in theology.[4]

After leaving the Panther Party, Rush sold insurance for a time in the early 1970s.

Weapons charge

On December 5, 1969 police raided the apartment of Black Panther leader Bobby Rush. They found a handgun, ammunition for various weapons, marijuana, an IED explosives manual, and communist literature including Che Guevara and Mao Tse-Tung. Bobby Rush served six months in prison for illegal possession of firearms. [5]

1969 press conference

Chicago City Council

Rush ran for a seat on Chicago's City Council in 1974. The first of several black militants who later sought political office, he was defeated. In 1983, however, Chicago's political life was transformed by the election of leftist Harold Washington to the Mayoralty. That same year, Rush was elected alderman from the Second Ward on Chicago's South Side. He was one of the pro-Harold Washington faction on the Council during the "Council Wars" that began in 1983 following Washington's election as Mayor of Chicago in a racially-polarized contest.

Mayoralty tilt

In 1998 Bobby Rush was busy preparing for a tilt at the Chicago mayoralty.

At his campaign launch, Rush was introduced by Communist Party USA affiliates Reps Danny Davis, Jesse Jackson, Jr., and Mexican-American activist Emma Lozano, as well as by anti police brutality activist Rev. Jaul Jakes.[6]

DSA support

According to Charity Crouse of Chicago Democratic Socialists of America;[7]

With months to go until a formal announcement, Congressman Bobby Rush (D-1) has been preparing the groundwork for a full-scale grassroots campaign to take him to the fifth floor of City Hall by organizing the disenfranchised majority of Chicago's residents. The South Sider promises to provide a voice for poor and working people in city policies concerning housing, wages and economic opportunities.
Since the end of August, Rush has been meeting with community residents and campaign volunteers in what has come to be called the Rush for Change Organizing Committee. Setting a minimum goal of 50,000 registered voters and $250,000 in campaign funds by November before he officially announces his candidacy for mayor, Rush has been working to form a coalition of African Americans, Latinos and progressives into what he calls the democratic vanguard of the possible to help him unseat Richard M. Daley in the Spring.

DSA endorsed[8]Rush's mayoralty bid after some debate;

After some consideration, the December 12th, 1998, General Membership meeting of Chicago DSA voted to endorse Bobby Rush for Mayor of Chicago and a mix of nine incumbent and insurgent aldermanic candidates.

Bobby Rush lost[9]the race, receiving less than 30% of the vote.

DSA "recommendation"

When Bobby Rush ran for Congress in 1998, Democratic Socialists of America did not officially endorse any candidates but he was "recommended" as worthy of a vote[10]by Chicago DSA.

Bobby Rush, U.S. House of Representatives, 1st District
Bobby Rush is not a member of the Progressive Caucus, though he should be.

National Nurses United endorsement

National Nurses United 2018 endorsements included

Medicare for All Act

In February 2019 Rep. Pramila Jayapal introduced H.R.1384 - Medicare for All Act of 2019. By May 29 she had 110 co-sponsors including Rep. Bobby Rush.

GI Civil Liberties Defense Committee

Circa 1969, Bobby Rush, Minister of Defense, Illinois Black Panther Party, was listed as a sponsor of the Socialist Workers Party-led GI Civil Liberties Defense Committee.[11]

Tribute to Golub and Montgomery

On November 16, 1989, Bobby Rush and Carolyn Rush served on the Tribute Committee for the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights Tribute to Leon Golub and Lucy Montgomery, held at the Congress Hotel, Chicago.[12]

Communist Party USA connections

Canter connection

Long time Communist Party USA member David Canter served as an adviser to Bobby Rush. [13]

At Canter's memorial service, Congressman Bobby Rush addressed the mourners, saying that the highest praise he could give David Canter was that there wasn’t a racist bone in his body.[14]

People's World Dinner speaker


Bobby Rush was the guest speaker at the Chicago Communist Party USA's annual People's Weekly World fundraising banquet, September 20, 1997, which raised $6,000 to support the communist newspaper. 1997. Rep. Rush urged support for the Martinez Jobs Bill (HR-950), then before Congress. His sentiments were echoed by Congressman Danny Davis.

Rush was introduced by Katie Jordan of the Coalition of Labor Union Women.[15]

Supporting Communist youth

In 1997 The World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY), based in Budapest, denounced the U.S. Treasury Department's denial of a license for hundreds of young people from all over the U.S. to attend the 14th World Festival of Youth and Students in Havana, Cuba.

WFDY, an initiator of the festival scheduled for July 28 to Aug. 5, assailed the anti-democratic character of the decision and pledged an international campaign to demand that the U.S. government lift the travel ban.

According to the Communist Party USA paper Peoples Weekly World.[16];

Nationally, the broad list of sponsors and endorsers has already begun to mount a campaign.
Members of the U.S. Congress, Ron Dellums (D-Calif.), Jesse Jackson Jr and Bobby Rush, both Illinois Democrats, have offered support.

H.R. 950, the Job Creation and Infrastructure Restoration Act of 1997 was introduced in the 105th Congress on March 5, 1997 by Congressman Matthew Martinez of California. It had 33 original co-sponsors, including Bobby Rush. The primary purpose of this emergency federal jobs legislation was to provide much needed jobs at union wages to crisis ridden cities by putting the unemployed to work rebuilding our nation's infrastructure (schools, housing, hospitals, libraries, public transportation, highways, parks, environmental improvements, etc. $250 billion is authorized for emergency public works jobs over a five year period.

Congressman Martinez had previously introduced this bill in the last Congress (as HR 1591) at the the request of over 50 prominent Labor leaders who formed the Los Angeles Labor Coalition for Public Works Jobs, which is why it is often referred to as the "Martinez Public Works Jobs Bill."[17]

This is the most significant jobs legislation introduced in Congress since Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal established the Works Progress Administration (WPA). This bill is the WPA-type program for today. It has strong provisions which will put hundreds of thousands of unemployed building trades workers to work as well as provide jobs for victims of plant closures, welfare recipients who are parents, youth, and the long term unemployed. The public works projects which will be established under this bill will be built in communities with the highest levels of unemployment and with the greatest needs.
The goal of the New York Coalition for Public Works Jobs is to build the movement to pass the Martinez Jobs bill as part of the National Labor Coalition for Public Works Jobs. You can help by asking your union, community organization, or local government body to to join those who have already passed resolutions to endorse the bill. Such a resolution has been introduced in the New York City Council. Calling on additional Congressional Representatives to co-sponsor the bill is very important. We will be organizing petition campaigns, visits to elected officials, and demonstrations and other actions for a public works jobs program.

The leaders of the Los Angeles Labor Coalition for Public Works Jobs and its only affiliate New York Coalition for Public Works Jobs, were all known supporters or members of the Communist Party USA.

Los Angeles , National Labor Coalition For Public Works Jobs

A New York affiliate, New York Coalition for Public Works Jobs, c/o Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2.

Chicago Martinez Jobs Bill support rally

On October 18 1997, Tom Balanoff, president of SEIU local 73, and Chicago Jobs with Justice, and Rep. Bobby Rush addressed a Chicago "show us the living wage jobs" rally, as part of a national day of action, calling on Congress to pass the Martinez Jobs Bill. there were concurrent rallies in nearly 20 cities, organized by the Communist Party USA dominated National Labor-Community Coalition For Public Works Jobs.[18]

Addie Wyatt connection

Rev. Addie Wyatt's home was used to carry out meetings with public figures such as Rev. Jesse Jackson, President Barack Obama, and US Rep. Bobby Rush.[19]

Richard Criley Memorial

In 2000, Bobby Rush served as Co-Chairperson on the welcoming committee for the Chicago Memorial Service for Richard Criley, a long-time activist with the Communist Party USA and a leader of the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights.[20]

2002 Chicago PWW banquet

Kathy Kelly, two-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, and Ishmael Flory, long-time member of the Communist Party USA, headed the list of honorees at the 2002 annual Chicago People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo banquet. Barbara Moore, vice president of the Coalition to Protect Public Housing, and a representative of the Carousel Linen workers rounded out the list of those who had been nominated to receive the Chris Hani/Rudy Lozano Award.

William McNary, president of USAction, was be the keynote speaker. "People’s artist" Peggy Lipschutz and singer Kristin Lems highlighted the afternoon’s cultural presentation.

“We are very proud of our honorees, keynote speaker and entertainers, all of whom represent the finest of today’s struggles for peace, justice and democracy,” John Bachtell, chair of the banquet committee, said. “They also represent the ideals for which Chris Hani and Rudy Lozano gave their lives.”

Bachtell said the banquet committee sees the event “as more than a fundraiser for the People’s Weekly World, important as that is. It is also planned as an opportunity to draw strength for a final push to defeat the right wing in this year’s election wars.”

Bachtell, organizer of the Illinois district of the Communist Party, said the election will be “even more crucial” if the Bush administration succeeds in its effort to win congressional approval for launching a war against Iraq. “We simply cannot allow such a crime to happen,” he said.

The Chris Hani/Rudy Lozano Award is named in honor of Chris Hani, one-time commander of the armed wing of African National Congress and General Secretary of the South African Communist Party, and Rudy Lozano, a Mexican-American activist and key player in the campaign that elected Harold Washington as Chicago mayor in 1983. Both were gunned down by assassins.

In addition to Bachtell, banquet sponsors included Rev. Willie Barrow, chair, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition board of directors; Chicago Alderman Theodore Thomas; Katie Jordan, president, Chicago Coalition of Labor Union Women; Rep. Bobby Rush; and Tom Balanoff, president, SEIU Local 1.

Doors opened at 2 p.m., Oct. 20, at the Three Happiness Café, 2130 S. Wentworth.[21]

Ex-Maoist consultant

1996-1997, Helene Slessarev-Jamir was an urban policy consultant, strategist to Rep. Bobby Rush.[22]

Posada letter

In 2005 several far left Congressmembers wrote to President Bush urging him to extradite alleged terrorist Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela to face justice.

We are writing to urge you to oppose the application for asylum by Luis Posada Carriles, and to support the request for extradition to Venezuela, where he is a fugitive from justice.

Signatories were; Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee, Cynthia McKinney, John Olver, James McGovern, Donald Payne, Lane Evans, Carolyn Maloney, Tammy Baldwin, Lynn Woolsey, Jose Serrano, Raul Grijalva, Maurice Hinchey, Bobby Rush, Edolphus Towns, Sam Farr, Bennie Thompson, Ed Pastor, Sheila Jackson Lee, Maxine Waters.[23]

Crossroads Fund

In 2007, Bobby Rush was an honorary host for the 25th Anniversary of the Crossroads Fund.[24] The fund, founded in 1981 supports community organizations working on "issues of social and economic justice" in the Chicago area.

Congressional Progressive Caucus

As of February 20 2009 Bobby Rush was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[25]

Congressional Black Caucus

Bobby Rush is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus for the 113th Congress:[26]

Peace Pledge Coalition

In 2007 90 Members of Congress, pledged in an open letter delivered to President Bush: "We will only support appropriating funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of all our troops out of Iraq before you leave office." The letter was initiated by the Peace Pledge Coalition. The Coalition was led by Tim Carpenter, Progressive Democrats of America, Bob Fertik, Medea Benjamin, CodePink, Bill Fletcher, co-founder of Center for Labor Renewal David Swanson,,, Progressive Democrats of America, Kevin Zeese, Voters for Peace, Democracy Rising, Brad Friedman, co-founder of Velvet Revolution, Bill Moyer, Backbone Campaign.

Bobby Rush signed the letter.[27][28]

2006 letter to Condoleezza Rice on Colombia

Alleged Colombian Army killings prompted Fellowship of Reconciliation to work with Representative Sam Farr to forge a response that would impact the 17th Brigade, the unit allegedly responsible for the violence against San José de Apartadó and communities throughout northwestern Colombia.

As a result, Reps. Sam Farr and Jim McGovern, wrote a letter to their colleagues in Congress urging them to join in calling on Secretary Condoleezza Rice to cut funding for the Colombian military.

Letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
(Deadline for Congressional representatives to sign: February 22)
We applaud the decision, noted in your certification letter of August 2005, that the US "will not consider providing assistance to the 17th Brigade until all significant human rights allegations involving the unit have been credibly addressed." Because the Brigade is a component of the Colombian Armed Forces' command structure and has been implicated in the above referenced human rights violations, we implore you to abide by both the letter of the law and the spirit of the law by withholding human rights certification for Colombia until the following conditions are met:

Signatories included Bobby Rush.[29]

2009 letter on Colombia

From November 6th through December 7th 2009, a letter calling for change in U.S. policy towards Colombia was circulated through the House of Representatives. This letter called for a decrease in U.S. aid for Colombia's military and an increase in support for human rights and humanitarian efforts. The initiators of this letter were —Representatives James McGovern, Jan Schakowsky, Donald Payne, and Mike Honda.

Dear Secretary of State Clinton,
The FY 2011 budget will contain the twelfth year of a major aid package to Colombia—an aid package originally slated to phase out after six years.
After eleven years, it is time to scale down assistance for Colombia's military and more systematically "Colombianize" such programs, within both the State Department and Defense Department budgets.

Signatories included Bobby Rush.[30]

Cuba trip

In early April 2009, Rep. Barbara Lee led a congressional delegation to Havana for a 4-1/2 hour meeting with Raul Castro, telling reporters, "All of us are convinced that President Castro would like normal relations and would see normalization, ending the embargo, as beneficial to both countries." Reuters reported that Lee's delegation "avoided specifics" with Castro "but were struck by his humor, impressed by his involvement in Third World causes and firm in their belief that he wants to end U.S.-Cuba enmity."

The meeting between Castro, Lee, and five other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, took place in secret without the customary presence of a US State Department official. No reporters attended, and according to the New York Times, Cuban television, which covered the visit, offered no details of what was said.

Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), Laura Richardson (D-CA), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Melvin Luther Watt (D-CA), and Barbara Lee. "Also particpating were Patrice Willougby, executive assistant to the Congressional Black Caucus, and Eulada Watt, wife of Congressman Mel Watt,".

Bobby Rush said he found Raul Castro "to be just the opposite of how he's being portrayed in the media." AP quotes Rush as saying, "I think what really surprised me, but also endeared to him was his keen sense of humor, his sense of history and his basic human qualities." At times, Rush said, the lawmakers and Castro chatted "like old family members."[31]

Two caucus members, Reps. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri and Bobby Rush of Illinois, preached sermons at two Cuban churches to commemorate the anniversary of King's assassination.[32]

Rush later wrote of his trip;

A lot has been said and written about my recent trip to Cuba with my colleagues from the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. While much of the initial media interest rightfully focused on the historic meeting with former Cuban President Fidel Castro, on April 7, along with my colleagues CBC Chair Barbara Lee and Rep. Laura Richardson, that event marked the end of a productive, five-day series of meetings on America's trade relationship with Cuba. Because I chair a subcommittee that will hold the first congressional hearing that will further examine the status of America's trade relationship with Cuba, I am taking this opportunity to share with you the proverbial 'rest of the story.'
While it is true that I enthusiastically support the Obama Administration's recent announcement of progressive policy changes that ease travel restrictions for Cuban Americans, allows cash remittances from Cuban Americans to family members in Cuba and provides American telecommunications providers the opportunity to establish cable and satellite telecommunications facilities that link the U.S. and Cuba, I believe much more is needed
My support for an expanded trade relationship with Cuba goes back several years. Most notably, the vote I cast in support of the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act, a bill signed into law by President Clinton in October, 2000, that lifted sanctions on sales of agricultural commodities and medicine. While our party suffered an epic loss of the White House only a few weeks later, within five years after that bill became law, total sales of farm products to Cuba dramatically increased from virtually zero to $380 million by 2005.
Yes, my hopes for Cuba include democratic freedoms. While this issue was not a major focus of this trip, it is certainly a concern of mine and other members of our delegation. The fact is that I did meet with many Afro Cubans during our meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro. Last week, when I returned to my district, I spoke to a capacity Latin American audience where I, once again, heard moving stories of their struggles for equality, a struggle that mirrors our nation's civil rights legacy. I am absolutely convinced that the injustices that have been visited upon the citizens of Cuba will be addressed and that they will be addressed quickly.
On April 27, I will chair a congressional hearing on the status of America's trade relationship with Cuba. That hearing is just the beginning of a series of steps I intend to take to open up markets for U. S. commerce--especially among small, minority- and women-owned businesses. A trade relationship will also help to shine a spotlight on the plight of those who suffer under a regime that remains repressive in many ways.[33]

Cuban relations Bill

Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., who participated on a Congressional Black Caucus delegation to Cuba in March 2009 and met with former President Fidel Castro, introduced the US-Cuba Trade Normalization Act, which would repeal the Helms-Burton and Torricelli Acts and end the embargo against Cuba. The bill has 55 co-sponsors.[34]

Creamer connection

Bobby Rush for Congress has been a client of Robert Creamer's Strategic Consulting Group.[35]

Voted against cutting funding for ACORN

In September 2009, following the lead of their Senate colleagues, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to cut off funds to ACORN. the vote was 345-75. All of the 75 were Democrats, and included Bobby Rush. [36]

TransAfrica Forum celebrates Year of People of African Descent

Sept. 20, 2011, TransAfrica Forum convened a series of conversations in Celebration of the United Nation's International Year for People of African Descent

Honorary Hosts were Representative Bobby Rush, and Alcee Hastings.[37]

Coalition to Save Community Banking

The Coalition to Save Community Banking is a group of several dozen metro Chicago organizations and individuals, including Chicago Democratic Socialists of America member Peg Strobel, that came together after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) seized the assets of a local community bank, Park National Bank (PNB) with two branches in Oak Park, Illinois, on October 30, 2009. PNB and eight sister banks (including several in California) were all owned by First Bank of Oak Park, Inc. (FBOP), which the FDIC then sold to US Bancorp, also known as US Bank. This seizure happened in the afternoon; that same morning, the Treasury Department awarded FBOP/PNB Initiatives (an affiliate of PNB) $50 million in federal "New Market Tax Credit" allocations to continue PNB's long-standing investment in under-resourced and minority communities. [38]

Accomplishments of the organization included;

  • Rep. Luis Gutierrez (chair of the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit) held a Congressional hearing January 21 on the issue of FPOB/PNB and community banks. We sent more than 60 people to Washington.
  • We gained the support of Rep. Danny Davis; Rep. Bobby Rush; State Sen. Don Harmon; David Pope, President of the Village Board, Oak Park; and State Rep. LaShawn Ford.
  • Sponsored by Sen. Don Harmon, Senate Joint Resolution 81 has passed the Illinois Senate and moves to the Illinois House, where it is cosponsored by Karen Yarbrough, Angelo Saviano, Deborah L. Graham, LaShawn Ford, and Marlow H. Colvin. The resolution "urges the United States House of Representatives Financial Services Committee and the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs to continue hearings to investigate the FDIC's seizure of Park National Bank."
  • December 16, 2009, the Chicago City Council joined with our coalition in demanding a Congressional hearing to investigate the seizure and sale of First Bank of Oak Park/Park National Bank and the repercussions for other community banks reinvesting in our communities. As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago aldermen condemned as "absurd, bordering on criminal" the federal government's decision to seize Park National Bank."
  • Within a month of the seizure, community groups that comprise the Coalition delivered petitions with over 1,000 signatures to the D.C. office of Rep. Luis Gutierrez.[39]

Rainbow PUSH Coalition

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition & Citizenship Education Fund held its 42nd Annual International Convention "A More Perfect Union: 150 Years Later Beyond Freedom – Reconstruction" July 6 - 10, 2013 Chicago Hilton & Towers. The Saturday morning Forum key issues we face today: access to health care, achieving high quality public education for all students, home and church foreclosures, urban violence, unemployment, economic recovery, and more, was moderated by Professor Charles Ogletree, Harvard University School of Law.

Panelists were: Rep. Marcia Fudge, Chair, Congressional Black Caucus, Michelle Alexander, Attorney and Author of “The New Jim Crow”, Barbara Arnwine, Attorney & Executive Director, Lawyers' Committee For Civil Rights Under Law, David Slane, Attorney, Robert Borosage, Founder & President, Campaign for America's Future, Cliff Kelly, Talk Show Host, WVON Radio, Chicago, Willie Gary, Attorney, Jonathan Jackson, Rainbow PUSH Coalition National Spokesman, Fred Gray, Civil Rights Attorney, Danny Davis, Congressman, Bobby Rush, Congressman.[40]

Committee to Stop FBI Repression delegation

In mid November 2010, a delegation from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression ( returned home from several days of bringing the "issue of the FBI raids and grand jury subpoenas of people doing international solidarity work and anti-war organizing to the U.S. Capitol". Three supporters of the Marxist-Leninist Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack!, Deb Konechne of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, Anh Pham, who is facing a reactivation of her subpoena and Joe Iosbaker, whose home was raided, spent two days meeting with U.S. Representatives on the issue. The delegation asked each Congressperson to sponsor a “Dear Colleague” letter condemning the raids and grand jury subpoenas. In the two days, the delegation met with either the Congressional Representative’s staff or the Representative themselves from the following 16 offices: Tammy Baldwin (WI), John Conyers (MI), Danny Davis (IL), Keith Ellison (MN), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Luis Gutierrez (IL), Mike Honda (CA), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL), Dennis Kucinich (OH), Barbara Lee (CA), Jim McDermott (WA), Jim McGovern (MA), Bobby Rush (IL), Linda Sanchez (CA), Jan Schakowsky (IL), Maxine Waters (CA). The "meetings were positive, with all the offices expressing genuine concern about the situation. In some cases, because of the outpouring of calls from around the country, the U.S. Representatives were aware that the delegation was in Washington D.C. and the offices made time on their schedules to meet with the delegation. This reinforces the continuing importance of the solidarity work taking place around the country."

Rep. Conyers (MI), chair of the Judiciary Committee, directed the Counsel of the Judiciary Committee to meet with the delegation. Also, Rep. Ellison (MN) and his Congressional staff met directly with the delegation for a significant amount of time. rep. Ellison sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, expressing concern over the situation and is continuing to work on options to support his constituents affected. The delegation also received face-to-face meetings with Rep Gutierrez and Rep Davis from Chicago. Rep. Grijalva’s (AZ) office set up a meeting between the delegation and the Executive Director of the Congressional Progressive Caucus in the Congress of which rep. Grijalva is the chair. In addition, the office of Jan Schakowsky (IL) and Maxine Waters (CA) gave the delegation significant time and attention.

“It was clear that progressive Representatives of the Congress are very concerned about the FBI investigation. Overall, they were very thankful for our visit and for the information and analysis given to them The level of awareness about the raids and grand jury was varied, from little to full awareness, but the delegation certainly changed that. After the two days, our presence and purpose definitely created a stir in the halls of Congress. “The fact that we were able to interact with 16 legislative aides or Congress people themselves, during an extremely busy time of restructuring leadership in the Congress, exemplifies the attention this matter is receiving”, stated Joe Iosbaker.[41]

Cuban 5

During the June 2012 'Five Days for the Five' in Washington DC , Latin American parliamentarians advocating for the imprisoned spies known as the Cuban Five, met with two members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Bobby Rush and Yvette Clarke.

The delegation of Latin Americans who made the trip to Washington to encourage their U.S. counterparts to become involved in finding a solution to the unjust imprisonment of the Five included congressional representatives Glauber Braga Socialist Party of Brazil; Hugo Gutierrez, Communist Party of Chile; Armando Aguilar , Ecuador; Damián Alegría, of the communist leaning Frente Farabundo Martí El Salvador; Alba Palacios, Sandinista, Nicaragua; and Chilean Senator Alejandro Navarro, Broad Social Movement, former leader of the Socialist Party of Chile. Italian Gianni Vattimo, a member of the European Union Parliament, for the Party of Italian Communists also participated.

Rush, who traveled to Cuba in 2009 and pledged to visit the Five upon his return, reiterated his commitment to do so, with other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, to support the prisoners and draw attention to the case. Representative Clarke, who recalled that her parents were Jamaican immigrants and whose district includes many residents with Caribbean roots, expressed her interest in improving relations between Cuba and the United States, acknowledging that resolving the case of the Five is important to that process. She commented that an ad hoc working group of Congress members interested in supporting better relations should be reactivated and become involved in discussion of the case.

Describing the experience, Salvadoran Frente Farabundo Martí legislator Damian Alegría said, “It was important to share the case of the Five with U.S. Representatives and Senators, to make them aware of the judicial irregularities that must be corrected, but also to hear that some of them do know about the case and share our opinion that it reflects a backward point of view, which must be overcome in the process of normalization of economic, political and diplomatic relations with Cuba.”[42]

PDA contact

In 2013 Progressive Democrats of America assigned activists to deliver their material to almost every US Congressman and several Senators, Bernie Kopera, was assigned as contact for Rep. Rush. In June it was Dr. John Houck and Donald Richie. [43][44]

ARA endorsement, 2014

The Alliance for Retired Americans Political Action Fund endorsed Bobby Rush in 2014, for 2012.[45]

Congressional Letter for Neutrality, 2014 Salvadoran Elections

On Monday December 16, 2014 Reps. Juan Vargas (D-CA), Mike Honda (D-CA) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) sent a letter to Sec. of State John Kerry – signed by 51 Members of Congress – calling for a public statement of neutrality by the State Department before the first round of El Salvador’s presidential elections on February 2, 2014.

The letter, , highlighted several “important steps” that the current government has taken to “strengthen its democratic system and expand the right to vote to all citizens,” including those living outside of the country, who will be voting by absentee ballot for the first time in February. Since the election of Mauricio Funes, the first President from the Marxist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) party, the government has increased the number of polling places four-fold to increase accessibility, especially in rural areas.

“We’re glad to see so many Members of Congress expressing respect for the right of the Salvadoran people to determine their own future. That’s an attitude that’s sorely lacking in much of the US’ policy in Central America, especially with regard to economic policy,” said Alexis Stoumbelis, Executive Director for the pro-communist Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), in Washington, DC, which has observed every post-war election in El Salvador, starting in 1994.

Signatories included Rep. Bobby Rush .[46].

Congressmembers call on Obama to rescind Venezuela sanctions

May 15, 2015, Sixteen Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a letter calling on President Obama to withdraw sanctions on seven Venezuelan government officials, and also to withdraw the language of an executive order justifying the sanctions.

The sanctions to which the letter refers were based on legislation voted by Congress in December and signed by the president on Dec. 18. On Mar. 9, after the arrest of several Venezuelan political figures whom Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused of plotting a coup, President Obama issued an executive order declaring an "emergency" on the basis of a supposed "unusual and extraordinary threat" to the United States and its interests by Venezuela, and imposed the sanctions, mostly on mid-level security personnel.

The sanctions prevent them from traveling to the United States and freeze any assets they might have in this country.

The congresspersons who signed the letter were: Hank Johnson, John Conyers, Barbara Lee, Raul Grijalva, Keith Ellison, Jose Serrano, Sam Farr, Karen Bass, Jan Schakowsky, Jim McDermott, Bobby Rush, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Mike Capuano, Charles Rangel, Chellie Pingree, and Earl Blumenauer.[47]

Muslim Left connections

Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children Act

April 2021—U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced the Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act, or H.R. 2590, provides that no U.S. funds to the Israeli government may be used to support the military detention or ill-treatment of Palestinian children; the seizure, appropriation, or destruction of Palestinian property and forcible transfer of civilians in the occupied West Bank; or to facilitate further unilateral annexation of Palestinian land by the Israeli government in violation of international humanitarian law.

The bill establishes annual certification and reporting obligations on the Secretary of State to show that no U.S. funds have been used by the Israeli government to support the prohibited activities included in the legislation. The McCollum bill also requires oversight reporting detailing the Israeli government’s human rights violations against Palestinians.

Initial co-sponsors were Reps Bobby Rush, Danny Davis, Andre Carson, Marie Newman, Ilhan Omar, Mark Pocan, Raul Grijalva, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, Cori Bush, Jamaal Bowman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jesus Garcia .[48]

Sponsoring organizations included Adalah Justice Project, Al-Haq, Americans for Peace Now (APN), American Friends Service Committee, American Muslims for Palestine, Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC), Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Center for Constitutional Rights, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Christian Jewish Allies for a Just Peace in Israel/Palestine, Churches for Middle East Peace, Church of the Brethren – Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, CODEPINK, Defense for Children International – Palestine, Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), Democratic Socialists of America BDS and Palestine Solidarity Working Group, The Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Eyewitness Palestine, Freedom Forward, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, IfNotNow, Institute for Policy Studies – New Internationalism Project, J Street, Jewish Voice for Peace Action, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, Justice Democrats, MADRE, Massachusetts Peace Action, Middle East Children’s Alliance, MPower Action Fund, National Council of Churches USA, New Generation for Palestine, NGP Action, Norwegian Refugee Council, Palestine Legal, Peace Action, Presbyterian Church (USA), Progressive Democrats of America, Reformed Church in America, Sacramento Democrats for Justice in Palestine, Tree of Life Educational Fund, U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, United Church of Christ, United Church of Christ Palestine Israel Network, United We Dream Network, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), US Palestinian Council, Veterans for Peace, Win Without War, Working Families Party.[49]

Praising CAIR

“The burgeoning partnership with the CAIR and the communities it represents brings greater awareness to the richness of Islamic traditions and heritage. I applaud your efforts thus far and look forward to our united work in the future.” -Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) (September 2014) . [50]

“The council’s work in the State of Illinois and across the nation is much needed and appreciated … I applaud CAIR’s efforts thus far, and look forward to our united work in the future.”

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) (October 2016).

Endorsed CAIR. 2016


Humanitarian Needs in Cuba letter

December 16 2021 , House Rules Committee Chair James McGovern (D-MA), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Gregory Meeks (D-NY), House Appropriations subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations Chair Barbara Lee (D-CA), and House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Energy Chair Bobby Rush (D-IL) led 114 Members of Congress in a letter to President Biden asking him to prioritize the well-being of the Cuban people as they experience the worst economic and humanitarian crisis in recent history...

In the wake of this year’s protests, the members urged the administration to support the Cuban people by suspending U.S. regulations that prevent food, medicine, remittances, and other humanitarian assistance from reaching the Cuban people...[51]

2016 Cuba trip

Representative Bobby Rush was part of President Barack Obama's March 2016 delegation to Cuba.[52]

Letter with NIAC

Washington, D.C. – December 208, National Iranian American Council worked with Rep. Jared Huffman and a group of 13 lawmakers who sent a letter to the the State Department regarding the dire humanitarian impact of U.S. sanctions on the Iranian people. On February 15, the State Department sent its response to the lawmakers. Rep. Huffman’s letter requested responses on the following questions:

Is it a deliberate strategy of the Trump administration to starve the Iranian people or deprive them of basic medicines? If not, what substantive steps has the administration taken to ensure the Iranian people have continued access to life-saving medicines?

Which foreign nations have expressed concern about the humanitarian impact of U.S. sanctions on Iran, and what have they asked the administration to do to ensure the free flow of humanitarian goods to Iran?

According to a report in The Guardian, the United Kingdom, France and Germany have pushed both the State and Treasury Departments to produce a “white list” that would “give clear guidelines about what channels European banks and companies should follow to conduct legitimate transactions with Iran without fear of future penalties.” Has the State or Treasury Departments acted upon this proposal to establish a white channel to ensure the flow of humanitarian goods? If not, why not?

What additional measures have been contemplated to ensure the free flow of humanitarian goods to the Iranian people? If these were rejected, why were they rejected?

Are broader license authorizations or exemptions necessary to ensure the flow of humanitarian goods to Iran? If not, what is the evidence for this assessment?[53]

Other signatories included Reps Barbara Lee, Mark Pocan, Bobby Rush, Ro Khanna, Jim McGovern, Tulsi Gabbard, Zoe Lofgren, Don Beyer, Mark DeSaulnier, Jan Schakowsky, Matt Cartwright, Earl Blumenauer, Anna Eshoo.[54]

Resolution calling for a final settlement of the Korean War

February 26, 2019 Press Release

Washington, DC – As President Trump arrives to Hanoi, Vietnam, Rep. Ro Khanna, along with eighteen Democratic Members of Congress, have introduced a resolution calling for a final settlement of the Korean War, now officially in its 68th year.

The resolution -- which is backed by former President and Nobel Peace Laureate Jimmy Carter and a range of Korean-American and pro-diplomacy organizations -- urges the Trump Administration to provide a clear roadmap to achieve a final peace settlement while highlighting the importance of reciprocal actions and confidence-building measures between the parties.

“Historic engagement between South and North Korea has created a once-in-a-generation opportunity to formally end this war,” said Rep. Ro Khanna, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. “President Trump must not squander this rare chance for peace. He should work hand in hand with our ally, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, to bring the war to a close and advance toward the denuclearization of the peninsula.”

“I commend this important resolution that will help bring this nearly 70 year conflict to a close,” said President Jimmy Carter. “I have visited North Korea several times to talk with their leadership and study the best path forward for peace. Ending the threat of war is the only way to ensure true security for both the Korean and American people and will create the conditions to alleviate the suffering of the ordinary North Koreans who are most harmed by ongoing tensions.”

Co-led by prominent progressive Reps. Andy Kim, Barbara Lee, Pramila Jayapal, Deb Haaland, and Jan Schakowsky, the resolution calls on the Trump Administration to make greater efforts to include women in the peace process, citing the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017 which Trump signed into law. Women’s rights icon Gloria Steinem, founder of the peace group Women Cross DMZ, published an op-ed in the Washington Post on Sunday in support of the resolution.

The resolution clarifies that ending the war does not necessitate a withdrawal of US troops from Korea or an acceptance of North Korea as a legitimate nuclear power. The resolution calls on the Administration to continue the repatriation of servicemember remains, and expand cooperation to achieve reunions of divided Korean and Korean-American families and facilitate people-to-people exchanges and humanitarian cooperation.

Rep. Khanna has been a consistent voice for diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula. Shortly after Trump threatened “fire and fury” against North Korea, Khanna was joined by over 70 Congressmembers on his bipartisan “No Unconstitutional Strike on North Korea Act”, which would reinforce existing law prohibiting an unauthorized and unprovoked strike on North Korea. He has also been critical of those in both parties who have sought to restrict flexibility in negotiations, instead urging support for the diplomatic approach of our South Korean ally and its President, Moon Jae-in.

Rep. Khanna will travel to Atlanta next week to sit down with Pres. Carter to discuss developments on the Korean Peninsula and solicit guidance from the Nobel Laureate about how the next generation of policymakers can best pursue a pro-diplomacy agenda for America.

Current original cosponsors (18): Pramila Jayapal, Mark Pocan, Barbara Lee, Deb Haaland, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Jan Schakowsky, Raúl Grijalva, Bobby Rush, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Tulsi Gabbard, Adriano Espaillat, Andy Kim, Rashida Tlaib, Judy Chu, Jose Serrano, Gwen Moore.

The resolution is endorsed by organizations including the National Association of Korean Americans, Ploughshares Fund, Women Cross DMZ, Korean Americans in Action, United Methodist Church – Global Ministries, Win Without War, Peace Action, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Just Foreign Policy, Beyond the Bomb, and Physicians for Social Responsibility.[55]


The following have worked as staff members for Bobby Rush:[56]

External links



  1. Bobby Rush, congressional bio, accessed August 4, 2011
  2. bio, accessed August 6
  3. Bill Matney on CBS Evening News, Dec. 4, 1969
  4. Washington Post: "A Black Panther on Little Cat Feet; Bobby Rush Drops the Clenched Fist," Kevin Klose, Aug. 11, 1984
  5. [ YouTube ^ | December 5, 1969 | NBC]
  6. [People's Weekly World, Dec. 12,1998, page 9]
  11. Undated, GI Civil Liberties Defense Committee letterhead circa 1969
  12. Tribute to Golub and Montgomery: Program, Nov. 16, 1989
  13. Chicago Jewish History Spring 2010, David and Miriam Canter: Doing Right from the Left BY WALTER ROTH
  14. Marc's Voice, History of the Canter Family, June 26th, 2010
  15. [PWW, Sep. 20, 1997, page 2]
  16. PWW June 14, 1997 page 4
  17. The Job Creation and Infrastructure Restoration Act of 1997 (H.R. 950)From the New York State Communist Party 16 March 1997, email list (accessed on June 14, 2010)
  18. PWW, October 11, 1997, page 6
  19. NBC Chicago, Rev. Addie Wyatt Memorialized, By Glenn Marshall, Saturday, Apr 7, 2012
  20. Memoriam Service Program, 2000
  21. Peoples World, Chicago PWW banquet set for Oct. 20, by: Evelina Alarcon & John Pappademos October 3 2002
  22. [1]
  23. Green Left discussion Restricted Group, 990 members Letter from US Congress Members for extraditing Posada to Venezuela May 20, 2005
  24. Crossroads fund 2007 Annual Report page 33
  25. Congressional Progressive Caucus website: Caucus Member List
  26. Congressional Black Caucus: Members (accessed on Feb. 24, 2011)
  27. War Is A Crime .org, Peace Pledge Coalition
  28. [ Sign the Pledge for Peace petition. Bob Fertik August 19, 2007
  29. FOR February 2006 Peace Presence Update
  30. Latin America Working Group, Get Your Representative to Sign a Letter Supporting Human Rights in Colombia
  31.] Congresswoman Barbara Lee: Still stuck in the Cold War, political Warfare, Michael Waller, accessed August 20, 2010
  32. U.S. lawmakers meet with Fidel Castro, April 8, 2009
  33. April 22, 2009, 12:14 pm My Hopes and Dreams for the People of Cuba (Rep. Bobby Rush) By Ill. Dem. Rep. Bobby Rush
  34. Pressure mounts to end Cuban travel ban, Peoples World, July 18, 2009
  35. SCG A Partial List of SCG Clients, accessed Dec. 2, 2013
  36. [ American Thinker, September 18, 2009 The 75 Democrats who are pro-sex slave ACORN defenders By Ethel C. Fenig]
  37. ct: Sept 20: TransAfrica Forum celebrates Year of People of African Descent Date Written: Thu, 15 Sep 2011 06:52:41 -0500
  38. New Ground 129, May/June 2010
  39. New Ground 129, May/June 2010
  40. Rainbow PUSH Coalition & Citizenship Education Fund 42nd Annual International Convention
  41. Report on Congressional Delegation From the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, U.S. Peace Council website, posted Nov. 20, 2010
  42. Granma Latin American legislators meet with members of U.S. Congress Havana. June 20, 2013
  43. PDA May 2013 Educate Congress Digest Letter drops (191 in total – 105 in April )
  44. PDA June 2013 Educate Congress Digest
  45. PAF
  46. CISPES press release, Press Statement: 51 Members of Congress Call for US Neutrality in Salvadoran Elections December 16, 2013
  47. Congress members call on Obama to rescind Venezuela sanctions by: Emile Schepers May 18 2015
  48. [2]
  49. [3]
  50. [ What They Say About CAIR (October 2014)
  51. [4]
  52. Voice of America, Who's Aboard Air Force One to Cuba? March 20, 2016
  53. NIAC. February 28, State Department Responds to Congressional Sanctions Concerns
  54. [5]
  56. Legistorm: Bobby Rush (accessed on Aug. 24, 2011)