Hello fellow Democrats! This is Lindsey Keesling, newly elected chair of the YCDCC. I had been working on a letter introducing myself as your chairperson and Chelsea Dimas as vice-chair, but the unfolding events in Memphis have made what would have been a celebratory message seem trite.
The reality is, there is a lot of work that needs to be done. The chasm in the democratic party as a whole that was revealed during the Clinton vs. Sanders primary, the way in which the Trump presidency hamstrung political will for almost everything but retaliatory action, and COVID sidelining many activists and organizations have left the national Democratic party reeling.
Despite many hard won victories of the last two years, there’s still an ongoing conversation about what our party can and should do. It’s no surprise that many people younger than myself feel nothing but pure cynicism about politics, as we grew up in an environment where serving the public seemed like the last thing on everyone’s minds, and in recent history the real suffering of our communities has taken a backseat to political tribalism.
Here in Yakima county and the surrounding areas, we’ve seen that national conversation distorted and enhanced, as if we were looking through a fish-eye lens. I am proud to step into the work that was begun by people who came before me, but I also am well aware that I am stepping into leadership of an organization that has lost the power of a unified voice.
I do understand the feelings of the many people who have asked how our organization will respond to the killing of Tyre Nichols. I identify strongly with the desire to shout on a street corner and to feel that solidarity with other protestors. But, I’ve also learned a lot in my time as an activist and community servant, and I know that protest by itself can at times do more harm than good. I am especially keenly aware of this as a white woman: I’ve both seen, and understood, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s criticism of white moderates. It is important to follow the lead of the people most affected by the system. We need to act in partnership with the organizations and people already pushing for justice, to be a signal boost for them and not a distraction.
Our next regular meeting is February 27th, and between now and then I was hoping to organize a social meeting. Instead, I would like to open that meeting up to a discussion of the racial tensions in our county and what we as an organization can do to pursue an active justice and a real peace.
I believe that we can work together, with other stakeholders and local organizations, to make a difference for the people of our communities. I believe in the strength, resilience, creativity and resourcefulness of the people here. I believe if we make a coordinated effort, the work we start won’t end when the protests inevitably do.
I look forward to seeing many of you February 6th, for an informal social gathering and conversation about racial equity in Yakima and the surrounding areas. I also hope to see you at our regularly scheduled meeting, February 27th, for some good work.
February 6th: 6:00pm-7:00pm Social Hour for Social Change (bring a snack to share)
February 27th: 6:00pm-7:00pm Regular Meeting (potluck at 5:30 in person)
As always, we need your support to keep our office open and to fund our programs. We are entirely funded by donations from our local community.
Thank you to all our supporters!
We look forward to seeing you soon!
Chair, Yakima County Democrats
Our mailing address is: Yakima County Democrats 402 S 3rd St Yakima, WA 98901-2834