D.C. To Democratic Party: We're More Than Monuments
On Aug. 28, Barack Obama will stand on a stage at Denver's Mile High Stadium and delegations from across the country will read into the record their support for the Democratic Presidential nominee. On giant scoreboards and television screens, images of each state will play as the party leaders have their moment in the spotlight.
So what images will millions see when D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty takes the microphone? According to D.C. Democratic Party Chairman Anita Bonds, national party leaders contacted her to seek suggestions last week.
"We thought, 'Oh, great, we can do the Anacostia River,'" Bonds said this morning. "They said, 'No, we want the monuments.' We had to explain that we are more than monuments!"
Bonds related this exchange at a breakfast fundraiser at a downtown law firm as the local party leaders attempt to raise $138,000 for the D.C. delegation's trip to Denver Aug. 24-28. In addition to morning breakfasts for the delegation's 54 members, two pages, and various other hangers on, Bonds has said the city will put on a reception party and stage a trip to the U.S. Mint to lobby for full Congressional voting rights.
About two dozen people showed up at the fundraiser, including several D.C. Council members. Notably, it was the members running for re-election: Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), Kwame Brown (D-At Large), Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) and Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7).
Others included Shadow Sens. Michael D. Brown and Paul Strauss, D.C. superdelegate and Hogan & Hartson governmental affairs advisor Christine Warnke, Washington Nationals executive Gregory McCarthy, D.C. Vote outreach director Eugene DeWitt Kinlow, former D.C. Council members Bill Lightfoot and Sandy Allen, and Michael A. Brown, who is running as an independent for a council seat.
The talk centered on convention details, which mostly meant a push to lobby for voting rights. Kinlow said D.C. Vote will print about 40,000 items including buttons, t-shirts, bumper stickers and wooden quarters with voting rights slogans to wear and pass out at the convention. Kinlow said his organization will be targeting eight states whose senators voted against D.C.'s Voting Rights Bill last fall, when the bill was affirmed by the House but was blocked in the Senate.
Bonds said she wrote a letter, at Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton's request, to Sen. Harry Reid last week urging him to bring the Voting Rights Bill to a vote before the end of the Congressional session.
Evans, who has been to three previous conventions, called on anyone headed to Denver to be ready to spread the word.
"This is not about sleeping late and going to the next party," Evans said. "You have to go and talk to other delegates. You probably would not be surprised by how uneducated people are about our plight."
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