The Diversity Declaration

Government of the People, by the People, and for the People

Filtering by Category: 2019

Help Flip Virginia in 2019!

Our followers may remember that we were active in the Virginia state legislative elections in 2017 as part of a strong network of local grassroots groups. We succeeded in getting several amazing Diversity Declaration champions elected, many of them running in deep red districts! However, the Virginia legislature as a whole hung on to a very slim, one-vote margin in Republican hands.

We’re back and ready to elect even more great diversity champions in Virginia, as well as supporting the re-election of some of our amazing 2017 candidates. We’d like to introduce you to two NEW DD champions, and get you as excited as we are about supporting them!

Joshua Cole, in House District VA-28, was a 2017 Democratic candidate for District 28 of the Virginia House of Delegates. Josh is a longstanding ally to our fight for equity and inclusion. He serves on Stafford County Public Schools Superintendent’s Equity, Diversity and Opportunity Committee, and is the President of the Stafford County. Josh also recently received an endorsement from former Attorney General Eric Holder and his National Democratic Redistricting Committee and this endorsement is so appropriate. Josh lost his race in 2017 largely due to voting irregularities.

Our other new champion is Qasim Rashid in Senate District VA-28, overlapping Josh Cole’s House District and those of some of our other Prince William faves: Elizabeth Guzman, Jennifer Carroll Foy and Hala Ayala.  And just as they did in 2017, he’s seeking to flip a district that has been in Republican hands for a long time. Qasim is a longstanding human rights and civil rights activist, and has been an active representative of Virginia’s Muslim community, and champion for the rights of all religious minorities. He is also a longstanding activist on civil rights, immigration rights and women’s rights.

This is a great time to focus on Virginia. The Democratic share of seats in the Virginia House of Delegates is expected to increase due to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on June 17, confirming new boundaries for 25 GOP-gerrymandered districts. Virginia is one of only four states with legislative elections in 2019.  All 140 seats in the House and Senate are on the ballot.   If each of us do just a little bit, we can get these great champions elected and help change the face not only of politics in Virginia but, as we build a diverse bench, the future politics of our country.

Time for an Anti-Racist Political Party

The attacks on politicians of color and women in office are getting worse, and we are fed up and ready to push for change. Recent weeks have seen chants of “Send her back,” attacking Rep. Ilhan Omar. Dog whistle comments about Rep. Elijah Cummings’ district in Baltimore - to distract from the Congressman’s legitimate outrage about the treatment of migrants in detention. And lest we forget how closely linked racism and misogyny are, the spectacle of Iowa Rep. Steve King defending violence against women. We need to start putting trigger warnings on Republicans.

And it’s not just President Trump. A few days ago the National Republican Congressional Committee jumped into the race to the racist bottom by attacking Rep. Lucy McBath, a woman who got into politics in the first place to push for gun control. This she-ro lost her own son to structural violence as he was shot by a white man for ‘playing his music too loud.’ And what did the NRCC choose to attack her for? For her strong reaction to the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, shootings that were unmistakably motivated by racism and misogyny. Apparently the shooters can count on the NRCC.

Two years ago white supremacists killed Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, VA. Last year they killed Jewish worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Last week they assaulted families shopping in El Paso, TX. And white supremacist terrorists have killed so many in between these highly publicized attacks.

We get that the hatred and violence are nothing new in this country. We will not end gun violence until we end racism, misogyny, and homophobia. This means our government at all levels, and our political parties, have to stop enabling structural racism, sexism, and other forms of systemic oppression.

Our goal is to change the political landscape, and our starting point is our elected officials. We are the majority. Politics and policy don’t have to pit one group against another. There are many examples of policies that work for ALL of us.

To get there we need to dismantle the systems that reinforce race, class, and gender oppression. We need to embrace politics that goes beyond the absence of overt discrimination and is affirmatively anti-racist and anti-oppression.

We reject the Republican party as it is today. It has become an open, unapologetic enabler of white supremacy.

We do not automatically embrace the Democratic party. While they may not be blowing dog whistles, they have yet to embrace the systemic reform that we need.

This is our call to action today. We ask our candidates for office and our current elected officials to recognize and correct the longstanding legacies of discrimination, in their own actions and in public policy.

There is reason to hope for change, at least among the Democrats. We see the DCCC staff walkout as a positive sign- these staffers were willing to take action, and we will have their backs. We support the statement by our partner, Inclusv, pointing out a way forward for the DCCC. We also support the recent initiative of the Maryland Democratic Party to embrace diversity, equity and inclusion. These are good first steps and they can be adopted by Party branches at state and local levels.

We are the majority and while we are not all the same, we are willing to work together. It’s time for the Democrats to work with us, too.