Last night, Wednesday, August 21st, DeKalb Young Democrats wrapped up their tour of DeKalb County with a trip Lithonia/Stonecrest in South DeKalb. We were pleased to be joined by County Commissioner (District 5) Mereda Davis Johnson, State Senator Tonya Anderson, Stonecrest Councilwoman Jazzmin Cobb, DPG State Committee Member (Chair, County Party Committee) Scout Smith, and Cindy Thomas, candidate for Mayor, City of Lithonia.
It was a great meeting that allowed us to hear about efforts ongoing around cannabis decriminalization in the county, a recap of the state legislative session, a discussion about the challenges and positives around cityhood efforts in the county, and much more. We were especially excited to hear from Cindy Thomas, who at 33 is just one more young Democrat who is putting her name forward for public service in her hometown of Lithonia.
Next month, we'll be back home in Avondale Estates. Our September meeting is shaping up to be a special one, so stay tuned and keep in touch with DYD on Social Media and on this site to hear more as announcements about our September meeting are released.
Thank you to everyone who came out to Dunwoody to talk about Pride Month and the progress we're making here in DeKalb on LGBTQ rights. A special thanks to the City of Atlanta's LGBTQ Affairs Coordinator, State Rep. Matthew Wilson and Doraville Councilwoman Stephe Koontz!
Our Tour of DeKalb County rolls on to Stone Mountain In July, where we'll be hearing from Anoa Changa about Boycotts as a strategy. For this discussion, we're welcoming Anoa Changa back to lead a discussion on the nature, timing, efficacy, and strategy behind boycotts. Anoa Changa is a political analyst and attorney based in Atlanta, GA. She hosts “The Way with Anoa” podcast and is co-managing editor of The Progressive Army Blog.
Also, since we're now seeing more candidates start to declare for 2020, we wouldn't be surprised to see a candidate or two show up, so you don't want to miss out!
You may have seen that our April meeting is in Kirkwood. As promised, this is just the first stop on our official DYD Spring & Summer Tour of DeKalb County. As an organization, we are committed to engaging young people and Democrats all around this amazing county of ours. To that end, we’re leaving the friendly confines of our normal home in Avondale Estates to hit the road and visit all corners of the county! More specific details will come with each approaching meeting, but stay on the lookout for when DYD comes to your area!
During the latest DYD Monthly Meeting, elections were held for all of the elected leadership positions within our club. By unanimous vote, the following individuals were elected to Exec Board positions for the 2019 year for DeKalb Young Democrats:
We'd also like to extend a huge thank you to our outgoing President, John Jackson. John served as President of DYD since 2017, and helped bring a new energy and levels of engagement to DYD. John could always be counted on to serve as a face of DYD at events around the County and State. We thank him for his service, and wish him the best of luck as he continues to shape Democratic politics in DeKalb as 2nd Vice Chair of the DeKalb Democratic Party.
The 2018 Midterm Elections are now fully behind us, and attention is already being turned to the 2020 election cycle. However, before we fully move on, it's important to look back on all that was accomplished. We may not have had the success we were looking for at the top of the ticket, but voter suppression tactics that denied us the Governor's Mansion weren't enough to dampen the results here in DeKalb.
Coming in to the midterm's, DeKalb County had three remaining Republican-held state legislative seats in the northern part of the county. DYD committed fully to helping turn these seats Blue, and every weekend that wasn't spent canvassing for Stacey Abrams and our statewide candidates was spent trying to flip those seats. After Election Day, the results were clear, and SD40, HD79, and HD80 had all been flipped! We enter 2019 with a fully Democratic State Legislative Delegation here in DeKalb County, making DeKalb truly the vanguard for Democratic efforts in the state of Georgia, and ensuring that DYD will continue to play a pivotal role in Democratic efforts here in Georgia for years to come.
At December's Monthly Meeting, we heard from Rep. Dar'shun Kendrick about the upcoming legislative session. We also took time to thank the legislative leaders who will not be returning, including Rep. Howard Mosby. We thank him for his years of service to the county and wish him best of luck on his future endeavours.
Our next meeting will be January 16th at 7:00 pm at the Avondale Pizza Cafe. This will be an important meeting, as we will be electing our officers for the upcoming year. This includes an election for President, as our President for the past two years, John Jackson, will not be standing for re-election as he moves on to his new role as 2nd Vice Chair of the DeKalb County Democratic Central Committee. We welcome all returning members, as well as any new members who have paid dues before that meeting, to attend and take part as we position our club with new leadership for the upcoming year.
DeKalb Young Democrats are committed to being the "crest of the blue wave" both in DeKalb and for all of Georgia. To that end, we are announcing our official club canvassing schedule for between Sept. 1st up until the weekend before Election Day. We're looking at the top of the ticket, ballotwide efforts, as well as flipable districts here in the county. Note that specific dates are subject to change. Continue to check with us here and on our Facebook page for updates.
June's meeting centered upon the idea of activism, canvassing, and GOTV to enable the Blue Wave we're all working towards for November. To that end, the June meeting on the 20th actually began with 30 minutes of Phonebanking to young people in DeKalb County, targeting folks identified as Democratic voters in this past May's Primary contest. They were simply encouraged to check out the DYD website or FB page and look for ways to get involved in GOTV activities this Summer and Fall.
On the candidate front, DYD once again showed it's drawing power. First on the docket was Richard Keatley, candidate for Labor Commissioner. Richard has come to DYD meeting on numerous occasions and is truly considered a friend of the club at this point. We then heard from Mike Wilensky, who is running to flip a House seat from Republican (and has a great shot since the seat is being vacated by the incumbent) in North DeKalb. We also heard from El-Mahdi Holly, who spoke on numerous topics, including his own run in HD 111, as well as serving as a surrogate for State Superintendent Candidate Otha Thornton. We also heard from Tunde Akinyele, candidate for Superior Court Judge in DeKalb County. Finally, we heard from CD6 candidate Lucy McBath, a national spokeswoman for Moms Demand Action and a tireless advocate for gun regulations.
The big call to action came from guest Anoa Changa, activist and Cities Electoral Manager for Democracy for America. She spoke about the importance of not shying away from difficult conversations within the Party as we look to build a winning coalition for November. We also heard from Susan Motter, who encouraged more young people to come get involved with the League of Women Voters.
Stay tuned for major announcements in the next month, including our DYD Blue Wave Day of Action Calendar, which will include Days of Action for numerous candidates and campaigns from July - November.
Don't forget that Primary Runoff Election Day is July 24th.
On Wednesday, May 23rd, DeKalb Young Democrats took some time to process the Primary Election results from the day before. Helping us lead that discussion of GA Sen. Minority Leader Steve Henson, who himself was victorious in a close and hard-fought election. He talked about the results, but focused on the importance of keeping our feet to the pedal going into the Summer and Fall to make sure we finish what we've started in November.
We were also joined by Lorraine Cochran-Johnson, candidate for DeKalb Commission Super District 7. Ms. Cochran-Johnson will be in a runoff with incumbent Commissioner Gregory Adams. That Runoff Election will be held on July 24th.
Our next meeting will be June 20th, 2018. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're looking for ways to get plugged into our canvassing and GOTV efforts that we'll be ramping up in the coming months.
Last night, DYD moved from our normal meeting space at Avondale Pizza Cafe (construction) to My Parent's Basement across the street. The night started off hearing from several local and Congressional candidates, including: Mike Wilensky (candidate for HD79), Becky Evans (candidate for HD82), Steven Knight Griffin (candidate for Congressional District 6), and reps for John Noel (candidate for Public Service Commission) and Tunde Kinyele (candidate for DeKalb County Superior Court Judge, who himself later appeared at the meeting).
As the main event, we then heard from three Statewide candidates, two of whom have no primary races and will be our General Election candidates in the Fall. The speakers were Fred Swan (Democratic candidate for Agriculture Commissioner in November), Charlie Bailey (Democratic candidate for Attorney General in November), and Sarah Riggs Amico (Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor in this May's Primary Election). It was a great opportunity for the audience to ask questions of the candidates, and evidence that we have some great folks appearing on the ballot this Fall.
Two quick updates:
February's meeting featured a bounty of speakers. We had candidates like former Congressman John Barrow, candidate for GA Secretary of State, and Richard Keatley, candidate for Labor Commissioner. We had members from other Young Dem chapters from around the state stumping for offices at the upcoming Young Democrats of Georgia convention. Lastly, we had a South Fulton Councilman Khalid Kamau talk to the room about holding our own party to higher standards, and then truly shaking up the room with a surprise endorsement of GA Gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
Don't forget that in March, we will be moving our monthly meeting up by one week to March 14th, as to better prepare for the Young Democrats of Georgia State Convention in Cobb County.