Editor’s Note: The following article was written by Larry Harrod, Chairman of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Charlotte County Democratic Party.
We welcome everybody with open arms. We are glad to have the chance to meet and talk with people. The Democratic Party has a strong, proud tradition of supporting civil rights. We are continuing that effort here and today.
We are making a determined effort to reach out to all underserved communities so that our membership can be truly representative of where we live. We formed the Diversity and Inclusion committee for this purpose. Our goal is to create a vibrant group that participates in the Democratic Party’s drive to recruit people of color to join us and run for elected office. We want to recognize exceptional people and help them get elected.
I have witnessed successful diversity efforts in government and the private sector. For a number of years, I worked for the City of Atlanta, where an affirmative action program began under the strong Democratic leadership of Mayor Maynard Jackson. Under his successors (including Andrew Young, who was later appointed U.N. Ambassador), the program flourished and made major contributions to the City’s growth. Minority businesses were started and grew into nationwide corporations thanks, in part, to the determination of political and civic leaders to overcome the racist objections of the chamber-of-commerce crowd. The minority-owned businesses hired minority employees, the employees spent their income in their neighborhoods, local businesses prospered, unemployment fell, the tax base increased and Corporations moved headquarters to “the City too busy to hate”.
Our committee is reaching out to people of color; neighborhoods of majority Black and Hispanic Citizens. We are committed to voter education and registration. We strongly encourage voters to Vote-By-Mail so that they receive a paper ballot a month before the election allowing time to study the ballot and make informed choices. Best of all, VBM provides secure tracking of that ballot online. We also are working with churches and community organizations such as the NAACP. We participated in Martin Luther King Holiday March and the Community Task Force’s March for Justice, Peace and Community Unity.
At our last meeting, we discussed the need to draw volunteers from underserved community neighborhoods to join Charlotte Dems in the fight for fairness at every level of elected government. This will be a key point in our outreach efforts to people of color as we move ahead with planning our GOTV strategies for November 6th.
In the Hispanic community, we are talking to church congregations, informing them about how critical their participation in the upcoming elections is in the face of ever-increasing oppression of immigrant citizens and voters.
Please join us and be part of our team to improve the quality of life for everyone here in Charlotte County, and in Florida. Email the Diversity and Inclusion Committee or phone the office, (941) 764-8440.