Summer of Resistance Starts in Jamaica with US Reps. Gregory Meeks & Keith Ellison
Saturday, July 1 - With high expectations, everyone was on their mark at the Robert Ross Family Life Center on Linden Blvd. in St Albans (Jamaica) Queens for the start of Resistance Summer 2017. The resistance, or the "revolution" that is going to involve creating more relationships and spreading love while building community and energy around shared goals to defeat an agenda currently being proposed by an administration in Washington that does NOT represent the people of Southeast Queens appears to be off to an exciting start given a packed house that had standing room only!
Just about every local and state representative(s) of South East Queens were present along with most of it's District Leaders in response to an invitation from Congressman Gregory Meeks, 5th C.D. The Congressman brought special guest Minnesota Congressman and Deputy Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Keith Ellison to Queens for the expressed purpose of galvinizing the community to work to register voters and re-engage us with the Democratic party for the upcoming 2018 and 2020 elections. Congressman Meeks along with Congresswoman Grace Meng of the 6th C.D., (Queens) who is also currently serving as Vice-Chair of the DNC, New York City Public Advocate Letisha James and Basil Smikle, Executive Director of the New York State Democratic Committee kept reiterating between speakers that "we have lots of work to do." All shared their perspectives about what did and did not work in the 2016 Presidential election and how the national democratic leadership was taking responsibility. The plans ahead and the questions before the attendees was what are the people now going to do about it!
Congressman Meeks' introduction of Rep. Keith Ellison, who traveled from Minnesota to Queens specifically for this event on a holiday weekend, detailed Congressman Ellison as an active legislator who had experienced challenges with the press during his run for DNC Chair (some of which had focused upon him being Muslim, noted by this writer), yet espoused how Ellison had taken those instances to prepare for the bigger fight ahead after losing the race for the DNC Chair to Tom Perez. Congressman Ellison was enthusiastically appointed Deputy DNC Chair, it was stated, because the DNC recognized "it needed someone like Ellison" to remain involved. The perspective that Congressman Ellison was out in front in terms of understanding the issues and the challenges facing the DNC to make a comeback after being plagued by internal dis-organization throughout the presidential election would not be an inaccurate perception.
Ellison did not disappoint. He spoke of the need for change, the challenge of getting young people to come out and become involved in government, to become interested in registering and voting as Democrats in the future for their future. Congressman Meeks had pointed out earlier after looking at the audience that young people were missing. Ellison spoke of the importance of relationships, creating them and sustaining them. He used the example of how love and common bonds strengthen relationships and how there will be a role for everyone over the coming months as communities organize to protect our interests that are now under threat and at risk. He was engaging and inspiring as he reflected on Grandmothers, as an example who know how much they are loved by family but who still deserve recognition of special days and their sacrifices for family because "knowing one is loved" is sometimes not enough. Showing love is how we maintain families and community."
SEQMC members were in attendance to rally with the community and demonstrate our support for a local agenda that will support the communities "basic needs" of adequate housing, accessible and quality health care, wage sufficient jobs and social justice. "These are issues impacting our community that we have discussed with our City Councilman Daneek Miller," stated Abdus Salaam Musa, SEQMC President adding "all are aware that the root of many of them lie with the federal government and decisions made in Washington. We hope to work with everyone towards educating the community of our role to secure these resources for not just Muslims, but everyone in need." These and more issues were addressed by Ellison via a variety of examples in his down-to-earth comments. "When there is a need for increased wages if they are not being met by employers, the government should step in and provide an increase in wages law," he said as he encouraged the audience to join with him in declaring that the government is "by the people," and "for the people."
Following an interesting question and answer period with local elected officials as well as Ellison's responses to questions at the national level, an energized crowd mingled. The consensus appears to be that Southeast Queens is ready, set and eager to get going with preparations for our resistance and organizing for 2018! To keep abreast of national updates regarding how you can resist an agenda that does not include you text to 43367RESIST. All are encouraged to contact local Democratic Clubs to start and stay involved. There's lots of work ahead, insha'Allah (God Willing).