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A D.C. View of Historic DNC Meeting

Several District residents had a presence at the Democratic Party's rules committee meeting this weekend in Washington.

Donna Brazile, a member of the committee, invited local activists such as Lawrence Guyot to attend, noting, "it is because of the historic achievement of Lawrence Guyot, Fannie Lou Hamer and a generation of people who made it possible for me to have a seat at the table. He was beaten and jailed for my right to vote."

Brazil was referring to Guyot's civil rights activities, including his work with the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and its fight to be seated at the 1964 convention.

"We opened up this party to people without power, blacks, Hispanics, whites, today is the logical extension of our history," Guyot said. "It is part of American history."

He was referring to the ironic scene in which a diverse panel of committee members found themselves the target of protests from supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton who said the panel's decision to give Michigan and Florida delegates half votes was undemocratic.

Dorie Ladner, also present, and like Guyot a former member of the Freedom Party and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, said while she was sensitive to protesters, the comparison had limitations.

"When we went to the Democratic convention we had no rights, our homes were being taken, family members were being murdered and we faced all kinds of trials."

D.C. Shadow Senator Paul Strauss was also at the Marriott Wardman Park Saturday. "No people are more disenfranchised than DC residents," Strauss said. "We tried to move our primary up in 2004. We plan to make our case at the Democratic Convention around the issue of DC Statehood, DC voting rights and empowering all Americans."

Hamil R. Harris

By Marcia Davis  |  June 2, 2008; 1:00 AM ET
Categories:  2008 Presidential Race  
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