Democracy for NYC (DFNYC) is committed to the ideals espoused by Democracy for America, the organization founded by Howard Dean, and the national network of local coalition groups dedicated to the same.
We work both locally and nationally to ensure that fiscally responsible and socially progressive candidates are elected at all levels of government. We develop innovative ways to advocate for the issues that matter to our members and support legislation which has a positive effect in our communities. We promote transparency and ethical practices in government. We engage people in the political process and give them the tools to organize, communicate, mobilize, and enact change on the local, state, and national level.
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These past 72 hours have seen an outpouring of public sentiment regarding the verdict in George Zimmerman’s trial for the killing of Trayvon Martin. Experts are lined up in 24 hour cycles to comment on how our vaunted post-racial society has really not gone so well. From our perspective as a local political action group, we have just been subjected to a most egregious public administration failure.
That perspective is contingent upon several details, not the least of which is a jury’s inability to convict a man who - from all the evidence presented and broadly displayed across media outlets, points directly at his guilt. But the larger public administration failure is in allowing the environment to exist wherein the confluence of legislation, thought patterns, and instruments create this tragedy as a logical outcome. The failure in this case was buckling to pressure from the American Legislative Council (ALEC), passing laws directly endangering the public, and in particular a broad band of society.
More firearms in the public’s hands does not make us safer, it makes firearms more likely to negatively affect the public. In turn, when a young man is profiled, judged without trial, and summarily executed by a non-official, undeputized, notoriety seeking individual hoping to ascribe himself power, we feel the loss personally. We feel it to such a degree because we - as a progressive group, - fight so adamantly for creating environments of safety, prosperity, and individual liberty. These are violated by Stand Your Ground laws, Stop-and-Frisk initiatives, precedents set by the Zimmerman trial, eliminating sections of the Voting Rights Act, or when the ATF goes without executive leadership for years on end.
When one entire group of people must question their survivability rate for going to the store at night in their own neighborhood, when that same group sees its Civil Liberties significantly diminished only weeks before, when the African American community is suffering in terms of educational and economic outcomes, incarceration rates, and the State of Florida contributes setting a precedent to allow anyone who is not from their community to eliminate anyone from their community and be released on his own recognizance, we have regressed. We have regressed to a period in our history over which wars were fought, and many lives were lost.
This - ladies and gentlemen of the jury, - I tell you is not the America we had envisioned for the 21st Century. We, that is, from the Progressive community. But from great tragedy comes great hope, and there exists the possibility that the combined efforts of the FBI and Attorney General Eric Holder will yield a fruitful and instructive hate crimes case. For now we wait with baited breath.
This fight became a cause celebre not only because of one young black man. This fight is everyone’s: no matter the color of your skin, your creed, your place of origin, it is reason to be afraid until such time as Stand Your Ground can be removed.
For us, as a Progressive group, we frequently discuss the term that is our moniker with differing results. What we do agree on is that “progress” as such means we all travel together towards a brighter future. Under the umbrella and careful shepherding of groups such as ALEC, Stand Your Ground, the diminution of the Voting Rights Act, and George Zimmerman’s acquittal all occurred. As a local Progressive political action group, we refuse to sit by and allow this to pass into history without raising our voices. Over the weekend, many of us participated in the protests here in New York. Undoubtedly more actions will be forthcoming. We welcome your thoughts and ideas.