We had a great Convention this past weekend! I wanted to send a quick follow up with a few highlights, some regrets and post Convention actions to the delegates and to the members who weren’t able to join us (we missed you!) Let me first discuss my regrets… I unfortunately completely forgot to announce one of the important awards that I, as President, have the honor to deliver… the Chapter Membership Awards. My apologies to all, especially to the recipients! The Chapter winners this year, based on number of members by September 30th, are
Large County – Mecklenburg with 56 members
Medium County – Guilford with 38 members
Small County – Cherokee /Clay Counties with 20 members
Congratulations Mecklenburg, Guilford and Cherokee/Clay Chapters! The numbers were very close this year, so congrats and thanks also goes out to all Chapters who grew their membership!
Thank you to our Sustaining Donors and Convention Sponsors! Your generous contributions go a long way toward helping the Auxiliary do all that we do!
We had a great two days together starting with our Kick-off event where we toasted LGBTQ+ History Month and our 10th Anniversary and heard from two of our LGBTQ+ elected officials (and members), State Representative Vernetta Alston and Buncombe County Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrera (who’s also running for US Congress District 11). We hosted a fantastic US Senate Candidate LGBTQIA Forum with Justice Cheri Beasley, State Senator Jeff Jackson and former State Senator Erica Smith that was brilliantly moderated by Cameron Pruette, President of the LGBTQ+ Dems of Mecklenburg. I had the honor to announce the 2021 President’s Award recipient, which so deservingly was awarded to Rich Elkins, our Webmaster and Communications Committee Chair! Congratulations again Rich! I was surprised with a tribute and I continue to be so touched by all of the kind words that were said. It’s been my honor and pleasure to serve as your President and I thank you all! David Hammond, our CD6 Chair introduced our Weekend at the Movies, providing an overview of the 6 award-winning LGBTQ+ films we had secured for our delegates to watch Convention weekend to enhance the convention experience and we ended the evening with two very important action items, which are:
State Representative Vernetta Alston is a finalist in the Victory Institute’s Tammy Baldwin Award. Those of you who were present at our 2019 Convention will recall this award when State Representative Deb Butler was a finalist. The winner is based on the total number of votes. We helped to bring in the win for Representative Butler then and let’s do it again now for Representative Alston! Here’s the link to vote. Once you’ve voted, share this link! Let’s VOTE, VOTE, VOTE! https://bit.ly/2XHcKne
Impact Virginia Governor’s Election by Phonebanking! The Virginia Gubernatorial election is coming up on November 2nd. The polls are showing an uncomfortably tight race between Democrat Terry McAliffe and the GOP Trump-supported Glenn Youngkin. We have been in communication with the LGBT+ Democrats of Virginia and the NCDP has been asked for help to do some phone banking. All the gains for the LGBTQ+ community that have been made in Virginia could start to be wiped away if the GOP candidate wins, plus it would negatively impact the 2022 elections, so we are joining the NCDP Phonebanking effort on Thursday, 10/28. The shifts are 12-2, 3-5 and 6-8. Please join me in signing up for at least one shift by clicking this link: https://www.mobilize.us/ncdems/event/423581/
Our Convention Business Meeting was Called to Order at 9:30 and we heard from Governor Cooper, AG Stein, Judge John Arrowood, NC Supreme Court Associate Justice James Ervin who’s running to retain his seat and Judge Lucy Inman who’s running for the open seat on the NC Supreme Court. I had the honor to announce the 2021 Communications Award, which deservingly was awarded to Dylan Harp, VP of University & College Outreach and integral member of our State Communications Committee. Congratulations again Dylan! We had a wonderful keynote speaker, Sharita Gruberg, VP LGBTQ Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, and finally we did the critically important business we came together to do, elect the 2021-2023 State Officers & CD Chairs.
Congratulations to your new President, Tyler Beall (Guilford), Vice President Takira Rose (Buncombe), Secretary Jess Eckler (Guilford) and Treasurer Matt Hughes (Orange). The returning and newly elected CD Chairs are: George Greene CD2, Marty Shoenhals CD5, David Hammond CD6, Helen Ryde CD7 and Kyle Warren-Love CD13. If you live in a Congressional District that’s not listed above and you are interested in serving as a CD Chair, please reach out to the new President. The remainder of our Convention focused on taking a look back at our past achievements and reviewing some of our go forward plans and initiatives, which will of course expand with the new leadership. I encouraged delegates and am now encouraging all members, whether you’re in Chapter or are an At Large member, to consider sharing your time and talents with the organization by volunteering to serve on one of our Committees, from Communications, to Finance/Fundraising, to Platform & Resolutions, or to our newly formed Legislative and Candidate Recruitment Committees, and more.
Visit our website and follow us on social media in the coming days/weeks where some of our Convention footage will likely be shared.
I’ll close with thanking this body again for giving me the privilege of serving as your State President for almost 5 years. I am confident the new President, President’s Council and Auxiliary State Executive Committee will do an incredible job! I’ll be helping them in any way that I can and as per our Bylaws, I will be serving on the Aux SEC as an ex officio, non-voting member.
The transition of everything to the new officers is underway and should be completed by next week.
All the Best!