For those of you whom I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting, my name is Anna Le and I’m the Operations Director for the Washington State Democrats. While Tina is out this week, the staff thought we’d this as an opportunity for you all to hear from someone else at the State Party.
Within five minutes of our first meeting, Tina and I discovered we had something incredibly formative and special in common: we are both children of refugees. My parents fled persecution and poverty in Vietnam for freedom and the chance at a better life in the US. My siblings and I were born in the U.S. and our family has lived in Pierce County since 1990. To this day, the most spectacular fireworks show I have ever seen in-person was when I was a teenager and went to a July 4th celebration at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
It was not until about five years ago that I first read Frederick Douglass’ July 5, 1852, speech, “What, to the Slave, is the Fourth of July?” I have thought about this speech every Independence Day since and take something different away from his words each time. When I first read this speech, I was moved by Douglass’ fiery condemnation of celebrating the principles of freedom and liberty each year, in light of the fact that Douglass was born into slavery and millions of people were still being held in bondage as he spoke from the podium.
This year, when I arrived at the point of his speech where Douglass points out that white Americans had been free from British rule for 76 years by 1852 but Black Americans were still not yet free, I thought about the momentous bill that was signed into law last month making Juneteenth a federal holiday… because nearly 13 more years would pass after Douglass’ speech before all Black Americans could celebrate their emancipation from tyranny and subjugation.
Douglass’ speech prompted me to ask myself, “what, to the refugee, is the Fourth of July?” Douglass, himself, summed up my family’s response to that question perfectly when he said, “That I am here today is, to me, a matter of astonishment as well as of gratitude.”
As an American child of refugees, I believe that because I have been given so much, I have a moral obligation to pay it forward so the pursuit of a better life will not be as challenging for those who will come after me.
My experiences growing up in a low-income, low-wealth household made me a Democrat because so many doors were opened for me throughout my journey and, instead of closing these doors behind me, I strive to kick them down entirely.
Frederick Douglass understood why those who were not enslaved celebrated Independence Day: “Pride and patriotism, not less than gratitude, prompt you to celebrate and to hold it in perpetual remembrance.” Just shy of our country’s 245th birthday, my question for you all is, “what, to a Democrat, is the Fourth of July?”
Our organizing department wanted to make sure you all had this critical information about our voter outreach and engagement efforts for the rest of the year; we’re rolling out some very useful tools for local parties. Make sure to read to the end for all of the details and a link to sign up for our information session next week!
Our Voter Engagement Plan for 2021 -We're excited to update you all on four big pieces of voter outreach and engagement we're asking local parties to take on during the rest of 2021. We know folks are anxious to get this work going, and we're setting up tools and training in Votebuilder to make this as easy as possible for everyone. We have four main voter engagement projects for local parties to participate in -
Contacting and finding out more about voters for whom we have little data. We need to know more about some of these voters so that we can target them appropriately next year, for persuasion and GOTV. By contacting them and having a conversation, we can begin building a deeper relationship between them and the Democratic party, and find out how best to communicate with them through the rest of the cycle and beyond.
Reaching out to likely Dems who didn't vote in 2020 and finding out why. Unfortunately, too many likely Democratic voters still aren't getting their ballots in, and we want to find out why. By building relationships with these voters and listening to their issues and concerns, we can get them ready to vote this year and next!
Re-registering likely Democratic voters who've been purged from the voter rolls by the Secretary of State's office. Thousands of Democratic voters are purged from the voter rolls every year by the Secretary of State's office, and we know many of them are people who are still alive, still living at the same address, and still should be eligible to vote. We can identify these people, let them know they were purged, and get them re-registered to vote.
Registering non-registered voters. There are still so many likely Democrats who fall through the cracks of our automatic voter registration system - we need the face-to-face touch to reach them and get them registered.
This work is so critical to building for success this year and in 2022. Our organizing department is ready to help support all our local parties in this effort. Butlocal parties must opt-in to these programsto make sure that we can give everyone the attention and support they need to succeed. Chairs or vice-chairs should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know that you want to participate and who your local party organization's point of contact will be.Once we have that information, we will provide more detailed training and materials about how to access these lists, scripts, and target universes in Votebuilder.
An information session for local party leaders will be held on Thursday, July 8 at 6 pm over Zoom.Register now to join us Thursday evening for an overview of the projects, how to plug your local party into them, and an opportunity to ask questions!
T3 Training Results -We are so excited that many Washington activists were able to join the T3 “Train The Trainer” program from the ASDC’s Best Practices Institute this spring. Washington represented almost a third of all T3 participants across the country! We promised $1,000 each to the top three local parties who turned out their members to participate, and we can announce our winners! Wahkiakum County, 26th LD, and 12th LD Democrats were the top three local party organizations in terms of graduates per precinct, and each organization has won a $1,000 prize (or up to allowable contribution limits) from the State Party as a result! Congratulations! With this training, hundreds of Democratic activists have better tools and experience about how to organize, fundraise, and build our party to compete and win races across Washington state, every year. Now let’s put that training to work and win some elections!
Rural Summit July 25 - We’re holding our Washington Rural Summit virtually next month on July 25th to talk about how Democrats can better compete and win in rural areas! This summit will involve communications training, small group breakouts on issues important to rural engagement, and sessions on how folks in Urban or Suburban districts can most effectively work with rural voters. This will be capped off with a keynote from the Chair of the Democratic Party of Nebraska and author of Harvest the Vote, Jane Kleeb.Please RSVP here if you would like to attend!
Resolutions Committee Training - Did you or any members of your local party organization miss our training earlier in the month on how our state committee’s resolutions process works? We want to help make sure folks understand the resolution process so we can vote on good resolutions and move them through the process smoothly. This training on the process of resolutions will be very helpful for anyone who wants to introduce resolutions for the state committee to consider - check it out here!
PRESIDENT BIDEN AND DEMOCRATS’ ACCOMPLISHMENTS -- BY THE FOURTH OF JULY!
COVID-19: The Biden administration has administered 300 million shots of the COVID-19 vaccine. The majority of states have more than 60% of adults with at least one vaccine dose, and 15 states have more than 70% of adults with at least one dose. COVID-19 cases have declined by 90% since January.
American Rescue Plan: President Biden and Democrats passed the American Rescue Plan to help fund vaccine deployment and economic rescue payments, which many called “the most significant legislation” in a generation. Experts say it will cut child poverty in half by next year.
Checks: The Biden administration has delivered $1,400 checks to more than 169 million Americans.
Jobs: The U.S. economy added more than two million jobs since President Biden took office – the most in the first four months of any administration in history. 2021 is expected to be the strongest year for the economy in possibly seven decades.
Infrastructure: President Biden and Democrats worked across the aisle and delivered on a campaign promise to secure a historic infrastructure deal that, if passed, will create good-paying union jobs and position the United States to win the 21st century.
Tax Cuts: President Biden cut taxes for families with children, so that eligible families – starting in July – will receive up to a $3,600 tax credit for each child under 18.
Health Care: The Biden administration cut premiums for those who get health coverage from the Affordable Care Act; four in five now can get plans for $10/month. More than 1.2 million people signed up for coverage during special enrollment.
Guns: President Biden ordered the strongest actions on gun safety in 20 years, including the first-ever federal regulation of so-called “ghost guns.”
Diversity: President Biden has the most diverse Cabinet in history, including the first openly LGBTQ cabinet secretary, first Native American cabinet secretary, first woman Treasury Secretary, first African American Secretary of Defense, first Latino Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the first Asian American U.S. Trade Representative.
Afghanistan: President Biden ordered the end of 20 years of U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan.
Climate: The Biden administration rejoined the Paris Climate Accords, and for the first time ever, the US hosted a virtual global climate summit for world leaders to make commitments to reduce their emissions.
Something to Share -Since we shared theaccomplishments of the Biden-Harris Administration thus far, it’s only right that we give you tools to share this information with your friends, neighbors, and on social media. Here’s a toolkit of graphics and sample social media content to help you spread the word!
You can find the toolkit here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Yymvd5ZDO6oDXtepZUgilzg02hnwpcShChXBZHgFSiQ/edit?usp=sharing
Something to Watch -As we celebrate the joy of getting our country back on track this Independence Day, we must remember that the Fourth of July, 1776, marked the beginning of independence for some, but not independence for all. Take a couple of minutes to watch descendants of Frederick Douglass read his infamous, “What, to the Slave, is the Fourth of July?” Speech.
Watch it here: youtube.com/watch?v=NBe5qbnkqoM
Something to Jam to -This week, Washington state fully reopened. We owe a debt of gratitude to health care workers, first responders, and frontline workers that have and still serve our communities tirelessly through the pandemic! Our team curated this awesome playlist to celebrate the state’s reopening and to get you in the mood for summer in Washington state!
Check out the playlist and jam with us here:open.spotify.com/playlist/4z48a9kQ38JWXvkiOzNDHl-