FL Dems elect convention delegates

admin | 5/10/2012, 5:45 a.m.

Last Saturday, President Barack Obama officially kicked off his re-election campaign, asking his supporters to stick with me we will finish what we started. But before voters go to the polls in November, Democrats from every state must elect delegates for their state conventions. Delegates chosen at the state level will go on to the Democratic National Convention [DNC]. Thats why over 500 Miami-Dade County voters showed up at five locations, including the American Legion Post, last weekend to vote for those who will represent the County at the June 2-3 State Convention. Whats at stake? The DNC which beings Sept. 3rd in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ronald Fulton, 49, has been active in the process to elect delegates for the last seven years and says the race for the White House starts at the local level. People say theyre busy and dont have time but the truth is we cannot afford to be complacent, he said. One thing that Democrats have to do is improve our communication. We have to get the word out about the opportunities for folks to represent their communities at the state and national conventions. As for voting, even if you dont have a state ID, you can still apply for an absentee ballot and make sure your vote counts. Can Blacks find regain the energy of the civil rights era? Minnie Mickens-Jones, 72, and her husband, Henry Earl Jones, 67, have been community activists for many years. She says Blacks have to plan and execute much better. We [Blacks] have to get our act together, she said. We are allowing one or two people to determine our future. Thats not the way it used to be. Weve lost something over the last few years. The energy that was evident during the protests for Trayvon Martin made me proud to be a Black woman. Thats what well need to regain control of the House, Senate and to keep the White House. Miami Gardens Vice-Mayor Oliver Gilbert, 39, agrees. We tend to take the voting process in its totality for granted, he said. But we need to become engaged at all levels from the election of delegates to the primary to the national election in November. Blacks must see themselves as partners in this process. Then we need to hold our elected officials accountable. We have to make sure those who we elect are representing our specific needs. Eufaula Frazier, 87, has been on the frontline for political activism for over 40 years and was one of the first Blacks to integrate the States Democratic Party. She says there is no excuse for Black apathy. We didnt have computers years ago we went door-to-door with fliers and passed them out to everyone eligible to vote, she said. We had real foot soldiers back then. We need to understand that next to the November 2008 election when we put the first Black man in the White House, Augusts primary will serve as our biggest test. Blacks have come a long way in this country but now theres way too much me, I, you. This is about us. According to State DNC officials, leading vote getters last weekend included: Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall [who topped all candidates]; Daisy Black; Jean Monestime; Ronald Fulton; Preston Marshall; Michelle Spence-Jones; Joyce Davis; and Cynthia Stafford. The Haitian community was also well represented. By D. Kevin McNeir kmcneir@miamitimesonline.com