Monday, March 31, 2014

Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree Dolores Huerta is keynote speaker at Dem convention

I am a delegate to the Wyoming Democratic Party state convention in Rock Springs.

I had to fight hard for the convention spot. Really, all I had to do was show up for the county convention and sign my name to a statement that said something like "I swear to (insert here the name of spiritual entity or higher power or, if atheist, "none of the above") _____________ that I will show up in Rock Springs May 16-17 for the Democratic Party convention, will participate in the proceedings and will not nap in my seat. Amen."

That was it.

A much different experience than that very exciting presidential election year in 2008. Dems in Laramie County duked it out for a spot at the state convention. We even had to make convincing speeches from the floor and get voted on. I was elected as an Obama delegate, my wife Chris as a Clinton alternate. This turned her even more surly than she'd been all through the early primary season as it became clear that the unknown male senator from Chicago was getting the upper hand on Hilary, the party favorite. It was a long election season in the Shay household. Wyoming did send some Clinton delegates to the national convention in Denver, although Chris wasn't one of them. I attended as an embedded blogger, stirring up trouble wherever I could.

Wyoming Dems may not have many elected officials to show for our efforts. But we do have cameraderie. We will be among friends in Rock Springs and a fine time will be had by all. And the keynote speaker is fantastic. From the Wyoming Dems Facebook page:
There are four elementary schools in California, one in Fort Worth, Texas, and a high school in Pueblo, Colorado named after Dolores Huerta.

She was inducted into the California Hall of Fame in March of 2013. She has received numerous awards: among them The Eleanor Roosevelt Humans Rights Award from President Clinton in l998, Ms. Magazine’s One of the Three Most Important Women of l997, Ladies Home Journal’s 100 Most Important Woman of the 20th Century, The Puffin Foundation’s Award for Creative Citizenship: Labor Leader Award 1984, The Kern County Woman of The Year Award from the California State Legislature, The Ohtli Award from the Mexican Government, The Smithsonian Institution – James Smithson Award, and nine honorary doctorates from universities throughout the U.S.

In 2012 President Obama bestowed Dolores with her most prestigious award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the U.S. Upon receiving this award, Dolores said, “The freedom of association means that people can come together in organization to fight for solutions to the problems they confront in their communities. The great social justice changes in our country have happened when people came together, organized, and took direct action. It is this right that sustains and nurtures our democracy today. The civil rights movement, the labor movement, the women’s movement, and the equality movement for our LGBT brothers and sisters are all manifestations of these rights. I thank President Obama for raising the importance of organizing to the highest level of merit and honor.”



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