California Democratic Party Convention – African American Caucus Meeting
Saturday, June 18, 2016 – 6:30 pm
Location: Hyatt Regency Long Beach, CA – Promenade 102
285 Bay Street, Long Beach, CA 90802
Meeting Call to Order: Darren Parker presiding; Kimberly Ellis recording /Convened [6:34pm]
Darren Parker called the meeting to order and asked for a motion to add the following changes to the agenda: move item 4 (the California Drug Price Relief Act) to new business, move up the keynote speaker section and combine the guest speaker section under new business and add Basim, Chair of Affirmative Action Committee, to share a few words under the Vice Chairs Report if he can make it in time. Moved and properly seconded. Motion passed.
Open/Welcome: Eric Bauman welcomed everyone to L.A. County and the City of Long Beach; shared a few words in remembrance of the legacy and spirit of the late Eric Bradley. Shared that we will not support Donald Trump, and have a lot of work ahead of us.
Rex Richardson discussed the changes in Long Beach over the last ten years including passage of the $15 minimum wage. Proposed a program for individuals between 18-24 before prosecution back to school or work force within six months and no charges.
Uduak Ntuk spoke and shared that after a lot of work, this area is now progressive; this is the second largest African American community in L.A. County.
Darren Parker took off his lapel pin and pinned both Rex and Uduak, making them both
lifetime members of the African American Caucus.
Reading of the Minutes: Kimberly Ellis shared that the minutes were emailed out in advance and also posted on the website and entertained a motion to accept minutes as presented. Moved and properly seconded. Motion passed.
Treasurer’s Report: Heather Hutt reported that the Caucus had a beginning balance of $4,806.20. We have expenses for the convention but the San Jose Convention Center shared some of the costs so we only spent $579.50 for our meeting room. We have an outstanding expense that the CDP is currently processing for $500 for the event space which was held on the evening prior to the Caucus meeting. Subtotal is $4,226.70. Membership dues income was $475. Balance on hand is $4,701.70. Motion to accept Treasurer’s report. Moved and properly seconded. Motion passed.
Chair’s Report: Darren Parker intended to do a special recognition of Dr. Renea Wickman who was not yet in the audience so the item was tabled. Special recognition of Kenneth Jones who continues to make a positive impact on the lives of adults and children. Kenneth Jones thanked Vincent from a Better LA, Brother Khalid, Mayor pro Tempore Mark Henderson, and Long Beach for hosting us and everyone for the recognition and support.
Darren took off his lapel pin and pinned Kenneth making him a lifetime member of the African American Caucus.
Political Director’s Report: Tom Steyer, founder of NextGen Climate, shared that the goal for 2016 is to have broader and deeper coalition of progressive leaders across California.
Regional Director’s Report: Dr. Denise Flemming shared an educational report from Riverside which showed that the graduation rate is now at 90 percent and that the graduation rate for minority students is now as high as it is for majority students; test scores grow to 87 percent which demonstrates five consecutive years of growth; the state’s average is 80%; she’s also running for Mayor of Moreno Valley and is an Emerge California alumna.
CYD Black Caucus Officer’s Report: Devin Murphy reported that they are very excited to have initiated Black Young Dems of Sacramento Club which is the 4th club in the state including SF, LA, East Bay and now Sacramento. He issued a challenge to everyone to come together and take an active part in mentoring each other within the black community.
Vice Chair’s Report: Darren announced that Robin Proutt was unable to attend due to health challenges and that we are all praying for her to get better so she can return to the dais and continue working with the other Caucus officers.
Hon. Mark Henderson, Mayor pro Tempore of the City of Gardena gave honor and thanks to God and his wife who has always supported him and spoke on the topic of unification and solidarity within the party for supporters of both the Hillary and Bernie campaigns. We need to embrace the energy that Senator Sanders brought to the election. Darren Parker took off his lapel pin and pinned Mark making him a lifetime member of the African American Caucus.
Basim, Chair of the Affirmative Action Committee, his Co-Chair is Taisha Brown, African American Caucus Corresponding Secretary, reported that we have a diversity issue in the CA Democratic Party and we are trying to get the data to give recommendations on addressing the disparities. We will shorten the original survey to see if we can get more responses. The Committee will give a diversity presentation at the next Convention. We need to hold our Party accountable and expand participation for all communities.
Darren recognized Alex Rooker, female Vice Chair of the Party and Professor Vanessa Tyson.
Darren shared comments about his recent election loss; he had Derek Humphries on his team which represented the most diverse team in the Antelope Valley.
Special Guest Speakers
Congresswoman Barbara Lee
Congresswoman Barbara Lee shared that we have to work on the national strategy to combat voter suppression efforts, including focusing on registration, engagement and empowerment and that California is not immune to voter suppression efforts. Black Lives Matter – is working on a progressive platform with both the Clinton and Sanders campaigns. The Caucus needs to think about how to engage the young Black folks who are not registering as Democrats.
Darren took off his lapel pin and pinned Congresswoman Lee making her a lifetime member of the African American Caucus.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters
Congresswoman Maxine Waters thanked the Caucus officers for all their work volunteering their time to make the Party stronger. She thanked Congresswoman Barbara Lee for all that she does and said that Congresswoman Lee started the Poverty Caucus to redirect some of our energy to this area. Congresswoman Waters said she listened to the report from the Affirmative Action Committee and doesn’t understand what other data we need to get. People know where to come when they need votes. We need more diversity on the stage for the CDP leadership. We as African Americans need to sit down with the Clinton and Sanders campaigns and let them know what our agenda is and what we need. We are important in this country and to this conversation and we need to be at the table at every level, from school board all the way up. We are not involved enough in education. We have the money. What are you willing to spend it on? We need to look at the candidates and look at if they can raise the money to be competitive and if they are involved in the community. The wealth gap is huge. African American families have an average of $11,000 in wealth. For white families it’s $143,000. We need to have access to opportunity to earn money. We need pay equity and pay equality. Elected officials need to get on their jobs and get payday loan businesses out of the communities. How do we take care of our communities? Our time is now. If electeds come to you and offer a resolution but can’t tell you what they voted for then they are tricking you.
Watch the legislation that is produced by all the elected. How are they voting? We will be getting bad credit scores and bad loans wiped off your credit reports. We are important and we must register to vote. Enough is enough. We must exercise our power. Remember how long we have suffered and where we have come from. We are not where we should be. The African American Caucus needs to get on it. We need to step up our game.
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones
The Insurance Commissioner thanked Congresswoman Maxine Waters for her work. He authored legislation to eliminate payday lending companies. Black businesses just want to compete at the same level as others. The public sector is doing ok but we need the private sector to do the same. He did a survey to see who bought goods and services from African American owned businesses, and doesn’t do business with companies that do not. There has been a 63% increase since he started publishing this kind of information on the behaviors in the public and private sectors. Gun violence is another issue. We lose 33,000 Americans a year to gun violence. He is running for Attorney General and will work with the African American Caucus to advance civil rights and economic justice. He thanked the Caucus members for their leadership and the audience for being Democrats.
Darren Parker returned to the item to recognize Dr. Renea Wickman for her work here and abroad in Ghana. Dr. Wickman shared that the people of Ghana wanted her to let us know that they are ready to build a bridge back home.
Reggie Jones-Sawyer is the Chair of Public Safety. He shared that we’ve got to stop being afraid of the N.R.A. and get the weapons of mass destruction out of our communities. The second Amendment is not a Bible verse. “Wisdom is better than weapons of war”. With respect to the prison industry, the government has sole discretion on spending. It was a mistake and we need to bring a proposition to change it. We need to come together to form a progressive caucus because there is a MOD squad. We need to be more strategic in getting our bills through.
CDP Platform Committee Report: Darren Parker thanked Michael Barnett for coming and asking for representation from the African American Caucus. Mister Phillips and Pamela Mays talked about the various items that went through the Platform Committee including the idea of reparations for women who were involuntarily sterilized. We did a resolution about equity in schools as well as criminal justice and the school to prison pipeline. We crafted language to talk about the manufacturing of slave labor. Thank you to Pamela Mays for putting her stamp on it.
NEW BUSINESS/GUEST SPEAKERS
California Drug Price Relief Act
Georgia Bradford, Elisa Underwood from SEIU (85,000 SEIU members statewide); they were going to ask for support but the resolution is already supported by the Caucus. Talked about the Hospital Compensation Act of 2016. The CEO’s money should go back into the community. Would like continued support from the African American Caucus. Thank you for your support and leadership. Also, the Black Lives Matter movement needs our continued support.
Joe Romero Jr. spoke. Asked us to compare to the US Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs costs. This act is endorsed by Al Sharpton, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.
Jimmie Woods Gray spoke on behalf of Alice Huffman and wants us to take no position because it is confusing. We should discuss further and refine it.
Andrew Lachman reported the outcome of the DNC elections: Female DNC members in order of highest vote getter are Becca Doten; Sandra Lowe; Christine Pelosi; Melahat Rafiei; Congresswoman Barbara Lee; Mary Ellen Early; Congresswoman Maxine Waters; Aleita Huguenin; Alice Huffman; Susie Shannon. The male DNC members in order of highest vote getter are: John A. Peréz; Jess Durfee; Gary Shay; Laurence Zakson; Keith Umemoto; Bob Mulholland; Andrew Lachman; Steven Alari; Otto Lee; Michael Kapp.
Raquel Vasquez shared that she won a seat on the Lemon Grove City Council in 2014 and is now running for Mayor of Lemon Grove. Also shared that only 5% of San Diego County is African Americans.
CA Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act
Cameron Adams shared that she was a former porn performer in 2013 and was in it for 3 months and ended up on kidney dialysis and is HIV positive. Worker safety is an issue and people need to be protected and urged us to please support the act. She said that the industry argues that it self-regulates but more needs to be done. For people who are HIV positive it costs more than $500,000 over the course of their lifetime for treatment and care. The Republican Party endorsed their opposition.
Brandy Grace spoke out in opposition to Cameron Adams’ bill which allows anyone to sue and release the names of women like Cameron Adams, or women in the LGBT community.
Terry Shaws is the Vice Chair of the Sacramento Democratic Club and a legislative staffer and spoke in favor of the bill saying that it is good and that he is in support of sex worker protection bill and so are members of the LGBT community and disagrees with Brandy and says that this bill protects workers, and we need to stand together as a Party.
Lenore Alpert was not present.
Overturn Citizen’s United Act SB 254
Michelle Sutter shared that MOVI is back on the ballot this year after being thrown off the ballot in 2014 by Supreme Court. This act calls for adding a 28th Amendment to overturn Citizen’s United and codifies that money is not the same thing as speech and corporations do not get Constitutional rights. Urging us to pass this with overwhelming support.
Motion to Adjourn: Moved, properly seconded. Motion passed. Meeting adjourned at 8:28pm.