A local Democratic political group hosted a discussion panel Feb. 10 to discuss ways to prevent the factors that caused the results of the 2016 election from happening in in the future.
The discussion focused on engaging and involving the community in civic action, especially younger voters and voters of color, members of the group said.
“Those are the groups that are our future… ten years from now this party and this country are gonna look completely different, and we’ve gotta make sure we’re including everyone in running this country,” said Cheryl Harris.
Harris is the vice chair of the Bernalillo County Democratic Party. She, along with Moss Group founder and a Montessori elementary school teacher Moss Templeton, said they want to address the issue of bureaucracy in the party.
“The Democratic Party, I feel, has become sort of an empty shell, kinda top heavy, big reliance on corporate donors and big money,” said Templeton. “And that’s led to a serious disconnect between people at the grassroots level and people who are actually in seats of power in the party.”
The Moss Group, a collection of members of the Democratic Party around the state, formed after local individuals were moved to action after the results of the 2016 election.
“Bridging the Gap: A Discussion on Remaking the Democratic Party” will feature local community organizers, who will discuss the day-to-day efforts of making the party more progressive. It’s important that the whole community gets involved, said one of the panelists.
“It’s about us standing up and rising against a lot of the oppressions that we’re facing today. I think we’re in a very difficult time in America. I think that’s putting it nicely,” said Selinda Guerrero.
Guerrero, a leader in Albuquerque’s chapter of youth justice organization, Save the Kids, hosted an interactive conversation with the audience at the beginning of the discussion.
Guerrero said the event emphasized empowering the local community to take action, from sharing the importance of voting over social media to running for elected positions.
The issues are bigger than party lines, she said.
“We want to have a healthy community with each other and opportunities,” Guerrero said. “We want our kids to grow up healthy and strong and be able to aspire to what they want to be in this world.”
Save the Kids started in 2011 by several youths in Syracuse, NY who wanted to give opportunities to youths to escape the prison system, according to their website. Guerrero said the organization hopes to branch out to all of New Mexico after the Albuquerque chapter becomes more established.
Featured panelists included Karen Bernal, Chair of the Progressive Caucus of the Democratic Party in California, plus the executive director of Albuquerque’s Center of Southwest Culture, and a performance from former poet laureate Hakim Bellamy.
The event was held at the University of New Mexico’s Continuing Education building. After the event Moss Group thanked all who attended via Facebook and promised despite difficulties with the live stream to post a complete video of the event as soon as possible. Those interested in more information on The Moss Group and The Democratic Party of Bernalillo County can follow their respective pages on Facebook at Moss Group NM and Democratic Party of Bernalillo County.
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