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27 July 2008

The Georgia Democratic Party's Lingering Diversity Issue

This past Friday morning, I quietly filled out my ballot for the Georgia Democratic Party's DNC member elections and I voted for four indviduals that I felt would do the best job representing Georgia Democrats and would represent all segments of the state's population.

Unfortunately, after all the votes were counted, the four people elected to represent Georgia on the Democratic National Committee do not reflect all segments of the state's population and while I don't believe the actions of the state Democratic committee were intentional, it has become more and more apparent that the Democratic Party of Georgia has a lingering diversity issue.

According to the 2000 Census, blacks represent 28.7% of Georgia's population. 2006 population estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau say that Georgia's black population has grown to almost 30%.

And yet there is only one black DNC member from Georgia.

Georgia has two black state-wide elected officials, four black members of Congress, more than fifty black state Representatives and state Senators, and countless other black county and municipal elected officials across the state.

And yet there is only one black DNC member from Georgia.

For the first time, a majority --54.5%-- of the voters in the February 5th Democratic Presidential Preference Primary were black.

And yet there is only one black DNC member from Georgia.

Of the six Democratic National Committee members from Georgia, one and only one is black. And that is Commissioner of Labor Michael Thurmond. The remaining five Georgia DNC members are white.

This past Friday morning, I voted for a diverse and competent DNC delegation to represent Georgia. This past Friday morning, I voted for former DeKalb County Democratic Party Chair Barbara Campbell, Fulton County Democratic Party Executive Director Page Gleason, Georgia state AFL-CIO President Richard Ray and former state Party chair Calvin Smyre. Campbell and Smyre are black. Gleason and Ray are white.

I only wish that the other state Democratic committee members had voted the way I did and voted for diversity in Georgia's DNC membership.