The Alternative Historian


Thoughts, Ideas, and Other Musings by an Alternative Historian

Feeling Political Transcript: Episode One - Abbie Illenberger

FEELING POLITICAL - Episode One, Abbie Illenberger: Freedom Fighters Everywhere Amongst Us
Released: December 7, 2016
Length: 5:47 minutes
By Daniel Horowitz Garcia, The Alternative Historian


I am feeling many things. It’s a little bit like a merry go round. 


I don’t know about you…


I think people should be reaching out and having lots of conversations.


But I’m feeling political…

This is a podcast series about emotions and politics and the actions we take. Or the actions we think we should take. Or the actions we wish we could take. I'm talking to people about how they feel and what they want to do based on those feelings. 

This episode features Abbie Illenberger, a former staff person with Project South. Project South is a southern-based leadership development organization creating spaces for movement building. They celebrated their 30th anniversary in November, and I stopped by to talk to some of the board, staff and other people connected to the organization. It was outside on the sidewalk that I talked to Abbie. I’ll be featuring many of the conversations I had that night over the coming weeks. 

Full disclosure: I worked for Project South for almost 5 years. 

That said, here’s Abbie.

Abbie Illenberger

I’m Abbie Illenberger. I live in Chicago, Illinois.

I am feeling many things. It’s a little bit like a merry go round. I feel scared. I feel like there’s some openings and possibilities. I feel angry and thoughtful.

Well, I think people should be reaching out and having lots of conversations. Re-establishing connections and dialog about what’s happening in the world and what you think should happen is really important.

I think it’s really important to look also to history. This is a unique moment in our country’s history, but there are moments where we have been in really hard situations before. Like I’ve been thinking a lot about Reconstruction and all of the forces that mobilized, who were white supremacist and really hanging on to an old version of our country and our story who were incredibly reactionary and violent. I think there’s moments to look to understand some of the origins of what’s happening. And there are moments to look to and see the resistance. We are resilient people, and there are freedom fighters everywhere amongst us. 

I guess the other thing I think is that we should be approaching this from the perspective that we have to both play defense and offense at the same time. And so I think there are very real attacks and threats that many communities are going to face. Everybody, whether you’re directly affected or you’re an ally, needs to be making plans and preparing to respond to protect communities and families and whole neighborhoods. But at the same time that’s not the only…we can’t just do that. We have to also put forward a vision of where we think the country should go. Because I think that was what was missing from the end of this election, a coherent vision for racial and economic justice. I think we have to put that forward, and we have to invite people to talk about what they want to see in their world and how it’s different from what we’re going to experience and what we’ve been experiencing. And just keep building relationships and connections. Drawing more people into the fight for that vision. That’s where I think the opportunity is, because a lot of people are awake in a way they weren’t two weeks ago or a week ago. They’re asking what to do and having conversations about what they want to see and what matters to them and why are they upset about this election and then what are they willing to do. Inviting people to step in and step up.

That would be my advice.


That was Abbie Illenberger. Speaking on the sidewalk of the Project South anniversary celebration.

Did this spark something for you?

How are you feeling?

Do you have ideas about what should be done now?

Do you have no idea what to do?

Take 3 minutes and record a voice memo on your phone. Tell me how you want to be identified, how you’re feeling in this political moment, and  your advice to someone about what to do. Email the file to 

It’s totally fine if you don’t have advice. Record the memo anyway. I mean, do you think I have answers? I’m making a podcast.

You can find more information about this podcast at

The music is by Rebel Diaz.

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