Fifty years ago, Shirley Chisholm became the first black woman ever elected to Congress. Today, her campaign motto -- “Unbought and Unbossed” -- remains a challenge to a Democratic Party that is often bought and bossed by big money.
Later this month, a key test of the party’s leadership will come when its Rules and Bylaws Committee votes on a package of recommendations to make the Democratic Party more democratic.
Click here to quickly email Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez -- urging him to speak out clearly and emphatically to tell the Rules and Bylaws Committee that it must fully approve the Unity Reform Commission’s recommendations.
All the talk in the world about values doesn’t matter if leaders don’t walk the walk. We’ve got to hold them accountable.
“You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining,” Congresswoman Chisholm said. “You make progress by implementing ideas.”
One of the ideas that we must insist on implementing is that the Democratic Party should be democratic. Right now, its undemocratic features include “superdelegates,” who often represent powerful corporate interests.
The upcoming Rules and Bylaws vote will consider a recommendation for reducing the number of superdelegates to the national convention from 712 to about 300. While the only democratic number would be zero, at the very least the committee should affirm the 60 percent reduction.
DNC Chair Perez needs to hear loud and clear. Please click here to add your voice to the insistence from the grassroots.
As Shirley Chisholm put it, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”
The Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting Jan. 19-20 will convene under a cloud. It’s a powerful committee that Perez purged so badly last October that it now includes virtually no Bernie Sanders supporters.
Please do take a minute now to send an email message to Perez.
Chisholm was an unabashed progressive Democrat who showed principled fortitude during her seven terms in the House of Representatives. She opposed the draft and the Vietnam War; fought for nutrition, health care and education for children; worked to cut military spending and increase budgets for domestic needs; backed numerous proposals for economic rights of the poor; advocated for civil liberties; and much more.
“I want history to remember me… not as the first black woman to have made a bid for the presidency of the United States,” Shirley Chisholm said, “but as a black woman who lived in the 20th century and who dared to be herself. I want to be remembered as a catalyst for change in America.”
In the next minute, please take a small step for change and send an email to DNC Chair Perez -- insisting that he show he’s serious about helping to move the Democratic Party in a democratic direction.
After doing this action, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends.
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-- The RootsAction.org Team
P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.
>> The Real News: “Nina Turner on Transforming the Democratic Party From the Inside”
>> Norman Solomon, Common Dreams: “Battle for Democratic Party: After the Unity Reform Commission”
>> Katrina vanden Heuvel, Washington Post syndicated column: “Democrats Have a Chance to Revive the Party. Will They Seize It?”
>> Daniel Marans, HuffPost: “DNC Unity Commission Agrees on Slate of Historic Reforms”
>> Richard Eskow, Our Future: “Democrats Need More Democracy, Not Less”
>> William Greider, The Nation: "What Killed the Democratic Party?"
>> “AUTOPSY: The Democratic Party in Crisis”
>> DNC's Unity Reform Commission report