Friday, July 8, 2016

Democrats craft final party platform in Orlando

Posted By on Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 11:15 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JOEY ROULETTE
  • Photo By Joey Roulette
Democrats from all over the country descended into Orlando to debate what the party stands for and put the final touches on its platform. 

Friday started off friendly enough, but tensions between supporters of the party's presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton, and runner-up Bernie Sanders were clearly present. Before the Democratic National Platform Committee kicked off its afternoon meeting at the DoubleTree at Universal Orlando, activists gathered against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement which they argue would kill jobs. Sanders' supporters have also called for the party to embrace a $15 living wage. 

Many Florida progressives focused on supporting a ban against hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. The current draft of the Democratic platform has no language addressing the practice. Betty Osceola, a member of Florida's Miccosukee Tribe, says she's lived in the Everglades and seen what the loss of environment has done to the culture of indigenous people. 
  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
"The original definition of economy is taking care of home," she says. "In order to have an economy, you need a place to have economy. … If you care about yourself, if you choose life, then you're going to choose to ban fracking."

Local activist Lawanna Gelzer says she's tired of Democrats and Republicans ignoring the environmental concerns of brown and black communities. 

"Environmental injustice needs to stop, especially when it comes to people of color," she says. "We have had enough of you taking advantage of us and treating us like we’re not citizens." 

While there may be divisions between the wings of the party, committee co-chair Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy says "there will be disagreements, but we don’t have to be disagreeable" during that debate. 

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer welcomed the committee to the city and thanked everyone for their support in the aftermath of the mass shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse that killed 49 people. 

"You reminded us every day that we weren't alone," he says. "We are a stronger, better city than we were. … We've refused to be defined by a single act of hate."
click to enlarge PHOTO BY JOEY ROULETTE
  • Photo By Joey Roulette
U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, says the platform is not just about defining who Democrats are against, but who and what they stand for. 

"To the powerful and to the privileged, I’m sorry," he says. "But your time has come and your time has gone, because today we stand at the dawning of the new America, where the light of opportunity shines through and the road to success beacons forward."

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