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Local Column

Schrader: Activist focuses on grass-roots change

Barry Schrader –
Sarah Moses of DeKalb stands with her laptop ready to lead a meeting of the Action Steps for America group this month at the First Congregational Church in DeKalb.
Barry Schrader – Sarah Moses of DeKalb stands with her laptop ready to lead a meeting of the Action Steps for America group this month at the First Congregational Church in DeKalb.

Sarah Moses doesn’t look like a political activist. But seeing her in action at meetings of the newly formed Action Steps for America of DeKalb and Sycamore shows her intense focus on making a difference at the grass-roots level.

“My interest in getting involved was sparked by the (recent presidential) election and my concerns about the direction the administration was taking us in,” she said.

Moses probably has activism in her genes, whether she realized it or not until now. Her parents were at the University of Illinois when they joined the Peace Corps and served in India.

Sarah graduated from DeKalb High School and went to Northern Illinois University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology and a master’s in physical education and health education, now using that to operate a personal fitness training business of her own.

She and a few others gathered more than two months ago to talk about what they could do in the 16th Congressional District to learn more about the operations of Congress and how legislation affects people in this district.

“We tried to meet with Congressman Adam Kinzinger but to no avail,” Moses said. “He has not held town meetings since the election, and only his staff was reachable.”

She said for now their main goal is educating people on what is happening in Congress.

“We want to share our views with our representatives,” she said. “We have dug into local issues to see how our rural communities are affected by the policies that are being voted on in Washington.”

Each Saturday morning for the past eight weeks the group has been holding meetings, most recently at 10 a.m. in the lower level of the First Congregational Church, 615 N. First St. in DeKalb.

Group members say attendance has ranged from 50 to 100 people at each session. People are invited to speak out, and many have expressed concerns about issues ranging from education, needs of the elderly, disabled, children, mental health and the Affordable Care Act replacement, among others.

Moses said they will continue to try and meet with Kinzinger and other elected representatives. They plan to take part in a protest rally Thursday outside the Chicago Club in the South Loop, where Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan is holding a fundraiser with many leading Republicans from around the state in attendance. Moses said there could be tens of thousands taking part in the protest.

They, along with several other grass-roots political groups that have sprung up since the election, are using a document titled “Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda,” which was produced by some former congressional staffers to help raise political awareness and calls for action among people in all parts of the country.

The document can be found online at Those interested in the movement can contact Sarah at or visit the church at 10 a.m. Saturday.

They also are making extensive use of social media and can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as various websites.

• Barry Schrader can be reached via email at or at P.O. Box 851, DeKalb, IL 60115. His website is

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