The author (second from right) poses with members of the Maryland Women’s Caucus.
The 2012 Democratic National Convention is a forum to showcase the Democratic Party’s inclusion of women. Whether you’re watching on TV, from the convention floor, on the Internet via live stream or via mobile app, you will, no doubt, see many different women addressing the attendees and delegates. But the best view is behind the scenes speaking to women legislators about their perspectives and concerns. I was fortunate to accompany, meet with and interview a diverse group of women legislators from Maryland and the Maryland Women’s Caucus on the issues that pertain to women and the Democratic Party.
Susan C. Lee, an Asian American, is president of the Maryland Women’s Caucus, which, founded in 1972, boasts the oldest women’s legislative caucus in the country. Lee was joined by other women delegates from all over Maryland, including Baltimore City, Montgomery County (once majority white and now majority people of color), Prince George’s County (home to one of the most affluent African American communities in the country), and several underprivileged communities. The diversity of our country is seen in these women, lesbian and straight and from all walks of life and ethnicities, including African Americans, Hispanics, whites, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, Indian Americans, and Caribbean Americans. So, here’s what they had to say about the Democratic Party and the Obama administration at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Women of color psyched
Susan Lee says the level of enthusiasm that she has seen among Asian American/Pacific Islanders, Hispanic and African American women is very high this year. She has been a member of the Maryland House of Delegates since 2002 and attended two prior conventions. The Democratic Party has started effectively backing women candidates, particularly those in the LGBT, African American, Hispanic and Asian American-Pacific Island communities, she says.
Regarding her Asian American community, Lee says the Democratic Party and the Obama administration recognizes it as an integral part of this country and have made an effort to be inclusive. Previously, Lee says, Asian Americans were not on the radar screen. And now she hears Asian American women who are local lawmakers expressing an interest in Congress. She says that recognizing and supporting women’s candidates and women’s issues just “makes for better government.” Many Asian American women are small business owners, so it is important to her that the Obama administration addresses the need for health care for their employees and elder care issues such as Medicare.
Yvette Lewis, chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, believes a woman’s economic survival is at stake in this election—from tax rates on the 1 percent and threats to repeal the Affordable Care Act to cuts in teachers’ salaries and Pell grants to college students.
Photo from Women's Media Center
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