Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. Today we’re bringing you a special “Behind the Story” segment just for the holiday. And because we’re already changing things up, unlike my usual banter of writing about my own stories, today’s tidbit is a behind the scenes nugget from another story that aired on national TV. Of course, I’m writing this before the show airs, but by the time this blog post gets published, perhaps some of you will have seen it.
There’s just something about the holidays that seems to bring people together, isn’t there? In the famous Christmas Truce of 1914, German and British soldiers during World War I ventured into No Man’s Land to mingle with each other in an effort to have one day of peace. So, too, in this time of stalemate between political parties, where it seems like compromise is almost impossible, a glimmer of hope emerges in a story aired on Thanksgiving Day on the Today Show. The story is about an Eat for Equity fundraiser for the Sisters’ Camelot, where none other than George W. Bush’s daughter comes in to do a story for the Today show.
At the fundraiser was Rob Czernik, of Sisters’ Camelot, who was one of the RNC 8. The RNC 8 were members of the Welcoming Committee, an anarchist/anti-authoritarian group charged in 2008 with conspiracy charges based on their activities leading up to the Republican National Convention. The conspiracy charges were increased to terrorism charges under the Minnesota anti-terrorism law, but then the terrorism charges were dropped. Czernik eventually pled guilty to a misdemeanor, and was given a suspended sentence.
It was odd, Czernik said, to think that just a few years ago he was involved in anti-RNC organizing against the party that Jenna Bush’s father represented, and now, here she is, doing a story about the organization he works for. “It’s a weird, weird, world,” he said. “I definitely see some irony. For an organization to be featured on The Today Show — you really can’t get more American than that.”
Emily Torgrimson, from Eat for Equity, which is an organization that hosts organic dinner fundraisers at homes for charitable organizations, says the experience was really positive. “The Sisters’ Camelot is a pretty revolutionary organization with a lot of progressives,” she said. “We all kept an open mind, and she was really lovely.”
According to Torgrimson, Bush was “really engaged and down to earth and really professional.” The event was stressful, she said, due to it being their first national press exposure, but in the end, “it was a great experience,” she said.
“There’s a kind of stereotype people have about Sisters’ Camelot, or about Jenna Bush. You’d think those stereotypes wouldn’t get along.” But it turns out that Eat for Equity is the kind of environment that is “welcoming to various spectrums,” she said. “We can get the anarchists and progressives and the fiscally conservatives. Our causes are different, but people continually get behind them, because they’re not politically motivated causes.”
That’s what Eat for Equity is all about, she said. From little children to elders, to people of all different backgrounds, they’re all about bringing people together in a community-based, participatory approach to giving. The organization “brings people together around food,” she said, “creating a really dynamic, creative giving community.”
So, I have a great idea. I think maybe we should get Congress to bring Eat for Equity over to Washington D.C. Perhaps the warm, caring environment of delicious, locally made food and sharing will get them to see their differences and actually do something. Or maybe not.
CORRECTION: The conspiracy charges were increased to terrorism charges under the Minnesota anti-terrorism law, but then the terrorism charges were dropped.