Announcements

Reparations Resolution FAQ

On Thursday, June 9, 2020, the precinct committee persons (PCPs) of Multnomah Democrats will vote on Resolution 2020-13 The Debt: the Case for Reparations. The resolution’s primary author, Quinton Blanton, provided this FAQ for PCPs to read in advance of the vote.

What is the purpose of a reparations program?

In the book From Here to Equality, Dr. Sandy Darity and A. Kirsten Mullen advance a general definition of reparations as a program of acknowledgement, redress, and closure.

Is it illegal to allocate funds specifically to ADOS?

No. There’s no intrinsic illegality to group specific or race specific policies. Japanese American reparations, for example, were group specific.

How will we be able to tell who is eligible for reparations vs. who is not?

Two criterion can be advanced for eligibility. First, an individual must establish that they have at least one ancestor who was enslaved in the US. Second, an individual must demonstrate that they have self-identified as Black, Negro, or African American on an official document-perhaps making the self-report of their race on the US Census—for at least 12 years before the enactment of programs tied to the funds. This criteria was created by Duke University economist William “Sandy” Darity.

Why is the ADOS distinction necessary?

            ADOS is a necessary distinction because if reparations do in fact gain traction nationally, people who are opposed to reparations could make the argument that Black immigration to the U.S. has increased significantly since the 1980’s, they were never enslaved in the U.S. so why should they be paid reparations? From a legal standpoint, a reparations claim against the federal government must be specific and requires inclusion and exclusion.

How will the effectiveness of a reparations program be measured?

According to Dr. Darity, the goal of a reparations program for ADOS should be to close the racial wealth gap in its entirety. Therefore, it is essential that the mean gap be erased, rather than setting a far less ambitious goal such as closing the ADOS-white median differential. Establishing a monitoring system to evaluate whether the ADOS-white wealth gap disparity is closing will be desirable.

How to calculate the cost of reparations?

There are a variety of strategies for calculating the size of social debt that is owed. Professor Thomas Craemer has calculated the cost of reparations through a stolen labor framework. In today’s dollars, he arrives at an estimate of $14 trillion for the cost of American slavery to the enslaved. The central argument of Dr. Darity and A. Kirsten Mullen, which I tend to agree with is that the elimination of the ADOS-white wealth gap should provide the foundation for the magnitude of the debt owed.

Where will the money for reparations come from

 As journalist Matthew Yglesias has proposed, Congress could direct the Federal Reserve to fund ADOS reparations either in part or in total. Given the overnight transfer of $1 trillion of funds from the Federal Reserve to investment banks during the Great Recession and monthly outlays of $45 to $55 billion to conduct “quantitative easing,” there can be no doubt that the Fed has vast capacity to provide the funds required for a properly designed and financed reparations program, particularly if the funds are disbursed over the course of three to five years. The Fed certainly could manage an annual outlay of $1 to $1.5 trillion without any difficulty—and this funding mechanism would not have to affect tax rates for any American. Moreover, the Federal Reserve is a public bank charged with conducting a public responsibility.

Why should I have to pay reparations? My ancestors didn’t own any slaves.

The culpable party is the U.S. government. Often, the federal government further sanctioned racial atrocities by silence and inaction. ADOS reparations are not a matter of personal or individual institutional guilt; ADOS reparations are a matter of national responsibility. Furthermore, The poverty created by slavery and Jim Crow are still in the system, just like the wealth created by slavery and Jim Crow are still in the system.

White ethnics such as the Irish and Italians came here and were discriminated against by the U.S. government, yet they still rose in spite of their handicaps why didn’t ADOS do the same?

It is important to note that in some respects, the Irish were treated worse than Blacks for the most part when they first arrived in the U.S. However, they were eventually absorbed into whiteness due to their willingness to inflict violence against ADOS and by expressing anti-ADOS sentiments. The Democratic Party and early labor unions also eased the assimilation of the Irish into whiteness. Whitness is a social construct that is dynamic. It expands and changes based on its need. I suggest everyone read Noel Ignatiev’s How the Irish Became White.

White people have never received “handouts” from the government, why should Black people get governmental “handouts”?

Framing reparations as a handout or a one time check rather than a debt is a conservative, right wing talking point that is untrue. A program of reparations is much more than a check. It must include multi-pronged policies and laws, protections, therapy, and training to fill the void of knowledge gaps. Also, white America has in fact recieved numerous handouts from the federal government including 160-acre land grants through the Homstead Act, access to New Deal and Fair Deal programs, the G.I. bill and much more. While white America received these handouts ADOS were denied access to them and were never given their 40-acres, which is partly why the ADOS-white wealth disparity is so vast, entrenched, and unshakeable. The wealth ADOS managed to accumulate in the nineteenth and  twentitieth centuries was far too often plundered via white mob violence, lynching, redlining, and credit discrimination.

Reflections on Pride 2020

By Rachelle Dixon and Eric Delehoy

On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a neighborhood gay bay in New York City.  They harassed and brutalized patrons, as they always had.  But this time, patrons had had enough.

Marsha P. Johnson, a Black Trans Woman, and Sylvia Rivera, a Latina Trans Woman, led patrons in resistance, and a resulting riot that lasted six days.  They stood up against the racism and transphobia leveled at them, and the anti-LBGTQ sentiment leveled at their community, so that each of us can now be safe in our own skin, no matter what skin that is.

The next year, the first Pride Parades appeared in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

This year is no different than others.  We understand racism, transphobia, and homophobia continue to impact many lives.  And that’s why we stand with you.  Multnomah County Democrats will continue to fight for your rights to be safe, no matter your identities.  For that reason, we are reaching out to you, to pledge that even though we can’t get together to celebrate with a parade this year, we are with you every step of the way. Pride is about embracing and celebrating difference, about taking a public stand to demand safety and enjoy the freedoms the US Constitution guaranteed for all of us.  Keep being your wonderful selves!  We hope to march alongside you, not just at Pride, but every day ahead.

To Be a District Leader

 

Every House District (HD) in Multnomah County has a Multnomah Democrat District Leader (DL) who organizes the work of their local precinct committee persons (PCPs). 

In July of 2020, as in every even numbered July, each HD call a reorg meeting and elects their district leader and assistant district leader. We want you to know what these jobs are and consider running for this important position.

The Job Description

District leaders help convey information to and from Democrat legislators and to their PCPs and other constituents. The District Leaders are voting members of the MultDems Executive Committee. They also appoint PCPs to represent their districts on most standing committees and help coordinate outreach at events.  That’s the basic job description but what does it look like IRL to be a DL?  

Beyond meeting the basic requirements outlined in the bylaws, it’s a people-person role you can make your own.  Have fun with it!  Build community within the party,  create pathways for newcomers to find their voice, their political power, and their own style of democrating in MultDems. The job will pay you back with lifelong friendships and the satisfaction of being a participant in leaving the world better than you found it.

Organize the work of their district PCPs  

Marcia Schneider, HD 51 District Leader, contributed to this article.

It starts with the District Organizing Meeting every even year after Mult Co Elections certifies our elections.  We gather together to vote for our district leadership – District Leader and Assistant District Leader – and appoint representatives to the County Party committees that keep MultDems humming. Beyond that, organizing work means getting to know the PCPS in each precinct and connecting them to activities, events, committees, and caucuses throughout the year, as well as encouraging and supporting grassroots efforts any PCP wants to initiate that furthers the platform and mission of MultDems. Of particular importance is the Neighborhood Leader Program.  Every district should strive for an NLP Coordinator who can recruit and support NLs in each Precinct. 

Convey information between Democrat legislators and their PCPs and other constituents

If you are lucky enough to live in a district like HD 46 whose State Legislators practice regular, open communication with their constituents, you’ll 

  • Keep in touch with them on a one-to-one basis
  • Read and promote their newsletters
  • Attend their town halls and coffees to see them in action with their constituents 
  • Provide feedback on their work
  • Help to rally support for their legislative agendas.  

These are especially good opportunities to monitor how your electeds’ work and priorities mesh with the MultDems Platform. 

You’ll also stay in touch with your district PCPs. In HD46 we use several tools to accomplish this including a members-only Facebook page, a sporadic newsletter called PCP Power Lines, text alerts, and phone calls. Twice a year you’ll invite everyone together for a district meeting to share ideas, work, and camaraderie.  These meetings can include updates from your legislators, visits with candidates, updates on local campaigns or previews and recruitment for MultDems activities. 

Voting members of the MultDems Executive Committee  

District Leaders are voting members of MultDems Executive Committee which meets once a month, the week before the All-PCP Central Committee, to conduct the business of the organization. Assistant District Leaders are also voting members but only vote if if the DL is absent. Ultimately, the direction of the Party is in the hands of the Central Committee. Exec Committee is there to keep the organization functioning and oversee that together we are all implementing plans and programs that meet our responsibilities.

Appoint PCPs to represent their districts on standing committees.  

Every district helps to staff the Standing Committees that keep Mult Dems running, so DLs search out and appoint the people with the interest, time, and skills to contribute. Those committees are: 

  • Credentials
  • Fundraising
  • Platform, Resolutions, and Legislation
  • Rules

Coordinate events in-district – Most years we’re hosting booths at local street fairs, marching in parades and when we have contested races, hosting candidate forums for voters. This year with the pandemic, we’re primarily virtual – zoom forums, phonebanks and candidate meet and greets.  As DL, you’ll call on all kinds of skills from your PCPs to make your events a success.

It is what you make of it

This all sounds like a lot. The thing I found is that the work fuels me. Connecting PCPs to ways to contribute, connecting our reps to their constituents. It just feels good to be a part of it. I hope you will consider taking up the role!

Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom

A message from Rosa Colquitt, PhD, Chair, Democratic Party of Oregon Black Caucus

Juneteenth, (“June” plus “nineteenth”) sometimes called “Jubilee,” indicating the year of freedom from enslavement, or even more simply “Freedom Day,” is indeed a remarkable story commemorating the abolition of slavery in the United States.

It was June 19, 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger marched into Galveston, Texas with official news that the Civil War had ended and the enslaved were now free. Granger read General Order Number 3 as follows:

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”

Amazingly, even in an era of slow communication and a nation at war, Granger was very late with important news of freedom – almost two and a half years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery in the Confederacy, at least on paper. In knowing the dehumanization of even one day of enslavement, I’ve looked for any historical explanations for the delay in delivering and enforcing the Emancipation Proclamation. One version of the story of “freedom delayed, freedom denied” was the tale of the messenger who was murdered on the way to Texas with the news. Another is that the official proclamation was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to maintain the “free labor” force on their plantations. And still another is that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas. Whether all or none of these versions are true, slavery in Texas remained status quo well beyond what was statutory.

My mind can scarcely imagine the depths of the emotions and the fear of the unknown for the “newly freed” Black men, women and children of Texas. Yet, it is within this historical backdrop of delay, confusion and terror that we have the beginnings of one of the most inspiring grassroots efforts of the post-Civil War period – the transformation of June 19 from a day of new freedom into an annual rite called “Juneteenth.”

Image of Rosa Colquitt, PhD
Rosa Colquitt PhD, Chair of the Black Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon, is co-chair of the Oregon delegation to the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

Today, more than 154 years later, Juneteenth-centered activities are experiencing phenomenal growth and flourishing within communities and organizations throughout the country. The freedom celebrations highlight the tradition of bringing in guest speakers and the elders of the community to recount historical events of the past. Newer Juneteenth traditions focus on education and self-improvement, along with future community development, while cultivating knowledge and appreciation of African American history and culture.

What many Americans remember most about Juneteenth is that it is always a joyful celebration of entertaining the masses with parades, musical entertainment, dance, games, and always food — an abundance of wonderfully prepared food. In Portland, Oregon, Juneteenth is combined with “Good in the Hood” for an unforgettable annual community celebration of young and old, family, friends, organizations and business vendors from every corner of the state, along with southwest Washington, and reflects all of our diverse racial and ethnic groups. For sure, no matter how large the gatherings at “Good in the Hood,” I always make my way from vendor to vendor until I have my soul food dinner of corn bread, black-eyed peas, collard greens and bar-b-que, and I always bring my own bottle of red soda water, just in case they don’t have it. One can’t quite celebrate Juneteenth without this original Texas tradition. (And, unless I forget, there’s always a bottle of hot sauce in my purse.)

Among all emancipation celebrations, we are reminded that June 19 falls closest to the summer solstice, the longest day of the year when the sun, at its zenith, defies the darkness in every state, including those states shadowed by slavery. By choosing to remember the last state in the South that freedom touched, we celebrate the shining “promise of emancipation.” Still, we can never ignore or forget the bloody path America took by delaying freedom and deferring the fulfillment of the simple words in General Granger’s General Order Number 3: “This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves.”

While Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom, Juneteenth 2020 is bittersweet. The recent events of 2020, the witnessing of the wrongful deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks, is crushing our spirits and reminding us of the stark reality that the fight for racial justice, equality and freedom for BLACK LIVES continues.

When will PCP election results be available?

We’ve gotten a lot of questions about when Multnomah County Elections Division will report Precinct Committe Person (PCP) election results. We expect that you will find them at the County Elections website (MCED) sometime in the next week or two; MCED is saying that they expect to post final results by June 8. We will link to those results when they become available.

You should also expect to hear from Multnomah Democrats soon about organization meetings for your House District.

Thanks for joining the team!

On Election Day, Bernie’s Message Still Resonates for Me

Today in Oregon and in Multnomah County we vote in our Primary Election. Most of us have voted by now, but for all who have not yet turned in your ballots remember to drop your ballots off before 8 PM tonight at an official drop off site.

Bernie Sanders inspired many of us to envision a world where all residents could thrive, a world where a living wage and health care for all were the norm. That vision will continue. It is now up to us to come together, more than ever, at the local party level to demand that we the people, working together, take on the powers and money that would keep us from a better world for all.

In his speech announcing the suspension of his campaign and endorsement of Joe Biden, Bernie reflects powerfully upon the the work we are called upon to continue; making a better world and empowering all people.

He also evokes one of my favorite quotes:

It always seems impossible until it is done.

Nelson Mandela

Lurelle Robbins, Chair,

The Democratic Party of Multnomah County

How to become a precinct committee person (PCP) via write-in

Have you considered running for office? Start by running for Precinct Committee Person (“PCP”).

PCPs are elected members of the Central Committee, the governing body of our Democratic Party. Elected PCPs vote for the leaders of the County Party, both on a district level and on a county level, and also vote for delegates to the State Central Committee and the Congressional Committees. They also serve as volunteers when it’s time to get out the vote for President, Secretary of State, State Legislature, and other offices.

There are usually more PCP positions than persons running for PCP, and so you can usually win if you qualify, file the required paperwork, and get at least three (3) Democrats in your precinct to vote for you.

Here are the details

TO QUALIFY

You must be a Democrat who has been registered since November 21, 2019.

TO FILE

You must fill out a form SEL-105D and file it with your County Elections Office. They need to receive this form by May 19 at 8PM. It’s best to mail it in right away just to be safe. You can email this form to or mail it to:

Multnomah County Elections Division
1040 SE Morrison
Portland OR 97214

TO WIN

You must receive the write-in votes of at least three (3) Democrats in your precinct. It’s best to talk to your Democratic friends and neighbors about voting for you. You can look up your precinct using the Multnomah County Elections Division precinct lookup tool.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to .

Note: if you have already filed to have your name on the ballot as a PCP candidate, you do not need to run as a write-in.

Announcing the August 8 Central Committee Meeting

The Central Committee meeting of the Democratic Party of Multnomah County will take place:

Thursday, August 8 2019
Hollywood Senior Center
1820 NE 40th Avenue, Portland 97212

 

(Map)

Our schedule is as follows:

6:00 PM Doors open
6:30 PM Registration and Sign In
7:00 PM Business Meeting begins
9:00 PM Scheduled end of Business Meeting

Election of Treasurer

Jil Heimensen resigned from the position of Treasurer on July 2. We thank her for her service and wish her well in her future endeavors. Per our bylaws, the election to fill the vacancy must take place at a Central Committee meeting that takes place between 30 and 60 days after the position becomes vacant. 

We will be conducting an election to fill the vacant office of Treasurer of the Party at the Central Committee meeting of the Democratic Party of Multnomah County. Two candidates have nominated themselves for this election: Dean Price and Deian Salazar. You will find a link to find their biographies at www.multdems.org. We will also accept nominations from the floor.

Standing Rule 12

The Central Committee voted to refer proposed Standing Rule 12, a procedure to engage and provide resources to candidates, to an ad-hoc committee for review and to present to the August CC. The proposed language for Standing Rule 12 may be found here. The Central Committee will consider the proposal and vote on whether to adopt Standing Rule 12.

Proposed Bylaw Amendment

A bylaw amendment proposal was announced at the June CC and is to be considered in August. It provides for the Democratic Party of Multnomah County to Endorse Democrats running against Democrats: “Optional Endorsement of Candidates” 

Committee Reports and Precinct Committee Person Appointments

We will hear reports from the Alternative Voting Methods pilot project and the Racial Inclusivity Workgroup. Also, we will vote to fill vacancies for Precinct Committee Persons. A list of persons eligible for appointment can be found here.

Minutes and Agenda

The minutes of the June Central Committee Meeting may be found here.

Watch this space for the August agenda and live meeting minutes.

 

Thank you for everything you do.

Sincerely,

Lurelle Robbins, Chair

The Democratic Party of Multnomah County

The Democratic Party of Multnomah County strives to be welcoming and accessible to all. If you or someone you know require ADA or any other accommodations to attend one of our events please contact us to tell us how to make your attendance possible. 

Nominations for Dick Celsi, Governor Barbara Roberts Young Democrat and Bill and Gladys McCoy Awards Are Now Open!

This year’s Multnomah County Democratic Party Dick Celsi Celebration will be held March 9, 2019. At that event, three individuals will be recognized for their service and commitment to the Party. Therefore, we are pleased to announce that we are accepting nominations for the Dick Celsi Award, the Bill and Gladys McCoy Award, and the Governor Barbara Roberts Young Democrat Award. You may offer nominations by using this link to our nomination form. Nominations are due by midnight the night of February 15, 2019. You may use the form multiple times to nominate more than one person.

The Dick Celsi Award

Dick Celsi – “Celsi” as his friends called him – served as Chair of the Multnomah County Democratic Party during the 1970s and Chair of the State Democratic Party during the 1980s and into the 1990s. A Democratic Socialist, he was a strong voice for the poor, homeless, and those without means.

In honor of Dick Celsi, a Precinct Committee Person (PCP) who emulates Dick Celsi’s dedication to the Party and to grassroots activism will be selected to receive the Dick Celsi Award. To be eligible for this award, the PCP must not have previously received it, must not be a State or County Democratic Party Officer, and must not have been an officer of the Multnomah County Democrats within the last six months.

Governor Barbara Roberts Young Democrat Award

Barbara Roberts served as the 34th Governor of Oregon from 1991 to 1995. She was the first woman to serve as Oregon Governor, and was also the first woman to serve as Majority Leader in the Oregon House of Representatives. She also served as Secretary of State for two terms, and, most recently, as a member of Metro Council from 2011 to 2013.

In her honor, the Governor Barbara Roberts Young Democrat Award is presented to a young Democrat who has significantly contributed as a volunteer for our organization. To be eligible for this award, the recipient shall be no older than 37 as of January 1, 2019.

Bill and Gladys McCoy Award

Bill McCoy in 1972 became the first African-American elected to the Oregon State Legislature. His wife Gladys became the first African-American member of the Portland School Board in 1970, and then the first African-American Multnomah County Commissioner in 1979.

In their honor, the Bill and Gladys McCoy Award recognizes a present or past-elected official who resides in Multnomah County and who has provided significant service and support to the Party.

Support a year of IMPACT!

Support a Year of IMPACT
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