Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
The Pima Dems Executive Committee met last night; tonight Legislative District 28 (where my precinct is) met; and tomorrow I am making phone calls for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and MoveOn. (That’s me and Gabby on election day 2008, when I was also making calls for her. Wasn’t that a great day!)
What really struck me about last night’s meeting– besides the vote– was the lack of diversity in the Pima County Democratic Party’s upper echelon. When I made phone calls for Barack Obama in 2008, I was in the minority on most nights. Didn’t the local Dems recruit any of those 2008 black and Hispanic phone bank volunteers or walkers to be precinct committee people?
I had planned to raise the lack-of-diversity issue at tonight’s LD28 meeting, but with only 1 black campaign worker for Rodney Glassman (Hi, Zeke!) and 1 Polish Mexican, tonight’s meeting was older and whiter than last night’s meeting. (Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with old white folks; these people are hard workers. And, besides, I plan to be an old white person someday.)
Yes, I know there is an African American Democratic Caucus. Great group of folks, but I don’t see many of them in leadership positions. Actually, I only saw 1 last night.
This is a problem– and a missed opportunity. Nationwide and statewide, the Republicans are alienating many groups and particularly people of color. The “energized” Republican base– primarily Tea Partiers– ranges from old white folks to white supremacists on the diversity scale. Obviously, that leaves a lot of people left out.
Come on, Democrats. Let’s show everyone that we really do have a big tent that all of us can fit under. We need to bring these diverse populations into the fold– not just for their vote but for their ideas, their energy, and their leadership.
I challenge the Arizona Democratic Party to make a concerted effort to recruit more diversity to the ranks of its precinct committee members between now and 2012. This will only make the progressive movement stronger. We can do this.