Updated: Jun 4, 2020
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
Martin Luther King Jr., 1963
Our April 25 county convention opened with a moment of silence. Moments of silence and thoughts and prayers all feel woefully inadequate with what is going on in our nation right now. More than 100,000 dead from COVID-19; the fabric of society and civility frayed with our soulless, greedy, narcissist commander in chief and callous complicity of Republicans; and our fellow citizens, African Americans, senselessly murdered. Again and again.
The New York Times on Sunday, May 24, had a type-filled front page with names and biographical information about COVID-19 victims. Where is the front page with Ahmaud Arbery, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, George Floyd, Tamir Rice, Alton Sterling, and too many, achingly many, more?
Police killed 1,099 people in 2019. Black people were 24% of those killed despite being only 13% of the population.
A recent study found that about 1 in 1,000 black men and boys can expect to die as a result of police violence over the course of their lives. This risk is about 2.5 times higher than their white peers.
I respect and agree with Michelle Obama who wrote: “It’s up to all of us — Black, white, everyone — no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out.” She says it “starts with self-examination and listening to those whose lives are different from our own” and “ends with justice, compassion, and empathy that manifests in our lives and on our streets.”
Justice. Compassion. Empathy.
As Democrats, we must also work to elect people who represent ALL of us. Who look like ALL of us. Who fight for ALL of us.
The imperative to elect Democrats is why I accepted serving as county chair in a pandemic, a major election year, and in a county that voted overwhelmingly for Secretary Clinton’s opponent. Another compelling reason to step up: The CCDP leadership team. Shamoyi McIver, Deborah Hollingsworth, Nancy Miller, Sarah Sakatos, Toni Abernathy, and now Jeff Taylor. Along with Tommie Abernethy and the Democratic Women, Gabriel Sherwood and the Catawba Valley Democratic Veterans, and Sarah Sakatos and the Young Democrats. (I know, this last part sounds like names of rock bands.)
We are all committed to elect reasonable and responsible leaders who share our values of inclusion and fairness, equality and integrity, and the vision of achieving a more just, healthy, and secure nation.
We are working hard – with you – to attain that.
We met (virtually) on May 26, our party’s first monthly meeting since Feb. 25. At the meeting, we elected Sarah Sakatos to represent us on the 10th District Executive Committee. In my report, I highlighted the many Democrats who have recently written letters to the Hickory Daily Record. Thank you, Don Baldwin, Jim Long, Cliff Moone, Ellen Parsons, David Turman, and Lynn Spees. Keep the letters coming. They are a great way to show people that there are thinking fair-minded people in this county who are concerned about people and policy and who are intent on change.
I’ve read a lot, e.g., the NCDP Chairman’s Guide, and talked with many people – current and former chairs, district chairs, and other party leaders – about what we can do NOW to help elect Democrats. The constant refrain: “The best thing we can do is make phone calls.”
Hence our new initiative: “Dialing for Democrats.” A team that includes Rachel Parnell, Jeff Taylor, Shamoyi McIver, and Nancy Miller is pulling lists, developing a script, and will train volunteers on how to handle calls to Democrats. One focus is precinct organization; the other focus is voter identification and enlisting volunteers.
We are also looking for some creative and energetic folks to help us figure out creative ways to raise money in a pandemic. Typically, we have a team hard at work right now on planning our annual Century Club dinner. Which has typically been indoors with a 100+ people on the last Sunday in August. We’ll need to raise money to support our election Get-Out-the-Vote efforts. Please email me at email@example.com if you’d like to help on fundraising.
It’s 155 days until the election. Let’s be careful out there and let’s elect Democrats.
"This is a national crisis and we need real leadership right now. Leadership that will bring everyone to the table so we can take measures to root out systemic racism. It's time for us to take a hard look at the uncomfortable truth."
Joe Biden, 2020
P.S. Daria Jackson, who you may recall ran for Hickory City Council last year, Laci LeBlanc, who ran for county commissioner in 2018, and Tyler Conley are planning a March to End Police Brutality on June 6 at 1 p.m. at Hickory City Hall. It’s hard to be in two places at once; many of us who feel strongly about the importance of black lives will be unable to attend due to a conflict with the NC Democratic Party State Convention. We will be there in spirit and will continue to work for compassion, justice, and empathy for all.
Kim Naff Named CCDP Volunteer of the Year
At the May 26 CCDP meeting, the officers presented Kim Naff with the 2019 Volunteer of the Year award. Nancy Miller highlighted the great work that Kim did to help organize and execute the move to the new headquarters and then the work to unpack and organize the new location.
Deborah Hollingsworth wrote on the CCDP Facebook page, “Kim goes above and beyond what could possibly be asked of anyone. She is methodical in her approach to organizing lists, events, and our physical space, but you may not notice that because you'll be too busy laughing at her clever wit to realize how efficient she is. Oh, and she bakes the most delicious treats.”
Join Us in “Dialing for Democrats”
As mentioned in Chair Lynn Dorfman’s letter, the CCDP is initiating a “Dialing for Democrats” initiative to help organize precincts and to reach out to registered Democrats. “It the most important thing we as a party can be doing now to support electing Democrats in November,” Dorfman said. The organizing team includes Rachel Parnell, Nancy Miller, and Jeff Taylor. Jeff Horvath, Ruth Long, Kim Naff, and Melissa Snyder have already stepped up to make calls.
CCDP Hosts Its First-Ever Trivia Night
So much of what we all enjoy at our monthly meetings is the opportunity to socialize with our fellow Democrats, which is hard to do with the important pandemic safety precautions. (Quick: What are the 3 Ws?)
With May 29 the 103rd anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s birth we decided to hold a 1960s trivia night and asked 10 District Congressional candidate David Parker to join us.
Turns out, Parker has great stories – including a lot of good Kennedy family ones – and all who joined the Zoom call had a great time. And, we were all winners, especially since we hadn’t figured out how to keep score. It was a new adventure and one we’re likely to repeat.
Please check out David Parker’s website at voteparker.com.
And, let us know – firstname.lastname@example.org – if you’re interested in another trivia night and if you have suggestions for a theme.
Thanks, too, for the great work of Shannon Auer (who has been so generous with her time and technical expertise), Deborah Hollingsworth for the promotion, and Sarah Sakatos, whose next job could well be writing Jeopardy questions.
ISO Strategic Planners
At the May 26 meeting, Chair Dorfman noted that according to the County Chair Guide, May is the month for working on a strategic plan. We’ve been so busy working to elect Democrats, that this has not been a top priority item. Deborah Hollingsworth and Toni Abernathy have offered to work on this. If there are Democrats reading this who would like to get involved, start by reaching out to Deborah Hollingsworth at email@example.com or 828-406-3744.
Calendar of Events / Key Dates
• June 1 - July 6 – County School Board Candidate filing period
• June 6, 10 am – NCDP SEC meeting (Zoom)
• June 6, 1 pm – NCDP State Convention (Zoom)
Note: delegates will receive email invitations
• June 6, 1 pm – March to End Police Brutality, Hickory City Hall
(wear a mask; keep 6-feet of distance; bring a sign)
• June 8 - July 6 – Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisor filing period
• June 20, 12:30 pm – Democratic Women Catawba County meeting (Zoom)
• June 23, 7 pm – CCDP Monthly Meeting (Zoom)