I unfortunately wasn't there, so this is based on what I received from the state party. But it appears that Idaho Democrats Saturday elected what has to be one of the most diverse delegations of any state, never mind one that is roughly 90 percent white.
According to a press release sent out by the state, which I've pasted below the fold, the 18 elected delegates include one biracial woman, one mulitracial man, a Latina, a Native American, an East Indian, four African Americans, and at least two representatives of the LGBT community.
What a signal this will send to America about Idaho, which has long battled misperceptions that ours is a homogenous state, and where just last week a rural radio show host came under fire for an invited guest's racist slurs against Barack Obama and his mother. And how wonderful it will be for these diverse Idahoans to be there in person to watch Obama accept the Democratic nomination 45 years to the day that Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech.
More than 100 people ran for the available 18 elected delegate slots. The winners were:
- Richard Hill II, Moscow, graduate student of neuroscience,
- Estella O Zamora, Canyon County, Interpreter, Latina
- T.J. Thompson, Boise, internal auditor, Idaho Power
- Maj StormoGipson, Coeur dAlene, Pediatrician
- Kassie Cerami, Boise, Obama for America, Native American/White
- James A. Fletcher, Pocatello, Vice President of Finance and
- Frances J. Jones, Boise, counselor, African-American
- Rebecca A.B. Suits, Boise, philanthropist/business owner,
- Steven Mercado, Twin Falls, student, multi-racial
- Debu Majundar, Idaho Falls, Physicist, East Indian/Calcutta
- Ryan Robinson, Coeur d'Alene, Student, LGBT
- Jeanette Wolfley, Pocatello, Attorney, Native-American/Shoshone-Bannock
PLEOs (Pledged Elected Officials)
- Rep. Nicole LeFavour, State Legislator, Boise, LGBT
- Mayor Dave Bieter, Boise
- Albert Wilkerson (additional information pending)
- Matt Kopydowski (additional information pending)
- Megan Nagel (additional information pending)
- Paulette Jordon (additional information pending)
The two top vote-getters were Kassie Cerami and T.J. Thomson, who put Idaho on the map by organizing a grassroots Obama presence that led to the senator's largest margin of victory from any state. (Obama captured an astounding 80 percent of Idaho's vote in our Super Tuesday caucus.) There's more at Eye on Boise.
I missed the convention because it coincided with the national meeting (in Denver) of Everyday Democracy, a national nonpartisan, nonprofit group where I work as a writer and online organizer. We help communities organize large-scale, inclusive, action-oriented dialogues around pressing issues, especially racial equity. For three days starting Thursday, I'd been immersed in conversations with people from 37 states about how to lift up voices that aren't heard as often as they need to be.
Then I sit down to my email last night and see that my state party had elected what has to be one of the most diverse delegations we'll see in Denver. As an Idahoan, I couldn't be more proud of my party's work to elect a delegation that shows Idaho in all its growing diversity. And I couldn't be prouder of my party as a whole, for always striving to look like - and BE like - all of America.
Note: This diary was corrected June 17. MLK gave his "I Have a Dream" speech on August 28, 1963.