Is it coincidence, fate, or maybe poor planning on my part that I am spending 3 evenings in a row at the Pima County Democratic Headquarters this week?
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.