Mission Accomplished?

Jim Burroway

January 8th, 2013

The National Stonewall Democrats are taking a break:

National Stonewall Democrats is officially “on hiatus,” Executive Director Jerame Davis said in an exclusive interview with Dallas Voice on Monday. The organization suspended operations on Jan. 1 but plans a relaunch for 2014.

“A lot of decisions are being made,” Davis told the Voice. “It’s likely our office will be closed for most of this year.”

Davis continues to work as an unpaid volunteer and will use the current office in Washington, D.C., at least through the end of the month. Local and state chapters will continue to operate normally.

…In an email to members in early December, Davis warned the organization was facing a $30,000 deficit and might be forced to close if the money was not raised.

I can see where a number of state level chapters would still have a lot of work to do at the state level, but it does bear asking whether Stonewall Democrats are relevant at the national level anymore. Donors don’t seem to think so.

Timothy Kincaid

January 8th, 2013

Stonewall has always pretty much from the start had difficulty keeping the national group united. If I recall correctly, there were a couple separate starts and certain groups didn’t want to share power with others.

But I thought they’d worked through that and were a viable and meaningful organization. So I’m surprised. And sad. And troubled.

I very much think that Stonewall has a great national need and purpose.

There will always be – even in the most supportive organizations – a need for an organized gay presence. We are a tiny minority and even those who support us don’t always consider us when crafting bills or writing policy. Someone has to be there to say, “ahem, I think you forgot how this clause here impacts my community”.

And there is a need for a national voice to respond to political gaffes, or even politicians within the Democratic Party who take hostile or antagonistic positions. Someone has to be there to say, “Hey, I’m part of this party and what you are saying is wrong.” Because no matter how supportive they are today, unless we are there in the future that can all go away.

I have no answers for whatever is contributing to their problems. But I think that perhaps they have let the “non partisan” groups speak for gay Democrats. And that may be something they wish to consider going forward.


January 8th, 2013

Timothy, I think it also may be as simple as a “herding cats” explanation. Stonewall was never intended to be a top-down organization. State and local Democratic clubs have their own agendas, and messaging they want to focus on. Not to mention egos.

And you have dominance by the well-populated and funded States/Cities, even though the board was drawn from all parts of the U.S.

Since many states have elections in odd-numbered years, I think this gives everyone a chance to focus their attention and money locally in 2013 and still be able to come back and work on Congressional, Senate and Presidential politics in 2014.

I hope they keep enough presence though to ensure that they don’t go defunct.

Timothy Kincaid

January 9th, 2013

Nevertheless, Matt, I think we are best served by having strong national cat herders and I’m saddened by this hiatus.

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