Top Democrat promises diversity and inclusion at upcoming convention
The Democratic National Convention is arriving in Philadelphia later this summer, just about ten months after the arrival of Pope Francis. It will be a chance for the city to shine again and could be an economic boost, but what should be expected as Democrats prepare to visit Philadelphia in just six months?
How will the upcoming Democratic National Convention benefit Philadelphia and the different communities within the city? Reverend Leah Daughtry, chief executive officer of the Democratic National Convention, and Kevin Washo of the Democratic National Convention Host Committee met with the AL DÍA newsteam last Wednesday to discuss their initial plans for the convention this coming July.
“For us, as Democrats, when we come into a city it’s really important for us to become a part of the city that is hosting us,” Daughtry said.
The Democratic Party incorporates all genders, races and ethnicities to advance the party’s values, according to Daughtry, and the organizers of the convention try to reflect that not just in what they say but really in terms of contracting, hiring and in terms of outreach. Daughtry said that the goal she and her leadership team have set is that 35 percent of those businesses contracted by the convention committee be minority owned and operated.
As it relates to the local Latino community in particular, Daughtry added, the Democrats are engaged in a fair amount of outreach. They are looking to hire local businesses and have partnered with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to help with outreach and in making sure that the convention committee are getting to the right places.
“That is particularly important because the Latino community is such a vibrant part of the fabric of the Democratic Party,” she added.
“In terms of hiring, our staff looks like the Democratic Party. It is a mandate that my team has that their hiring has to reflect the constituency that made the Democratic party strong,” Daughtry said. “And so we are happy that we are on the path, every department has Latino staff in it. We have some great senior staff at the management level who are part of our team and we are thrilled to have a great diverse team helping us to put the convention forward so we are looking forward to engaging the local citizenry in all parts of the community — but of course in the core constituency that gives us their votes which is the Latino community — and engaging their businesses.”
It is still early in the contracting phase and the Democratic National Convention Host Committee is in the process of reviewing many Requests for Proposals (RFPs). Daughtry added that interested businesses should visit the Democratic Convention website for updates.
While the information is not yet available in Spanish, Kevin Washo, the executive director of the Democratic National Host Committee, said that the convention’s main website is constantly being updated to make sure that Democrats are meeting all of their obligations.
“There are a lot of national corporations coming into the city that are looking to put on events and one of the things that we are doing as a host committee, in conjunction with the DNC is giving them the vendor directory,” Washo said. “[We are] encouraging them that if you want to spend money you want to spend it locally.”
Daughtry stressed that she does not see the convention causing a city-wide lockdown as the Papal visit in September did, but describes it as being “much smaller than an Eagles game.”
The goal of convention organizers, Daughtry added, is to be unintrusive as possible. She also has no doubt that the convention will be like others where there will be prominent high profile Latinos at every level.
“I would put our programs up against the Republicans any day of the week in terms of diversity and who’s on stage,” Daughtry said. “Not only in terms of the personality but in terms of the message. I think our party’s platform is head and shoulders above what our counterparts have. And in terms of appeal to the Latino community … it’s one thing to have a speaker but what the speaker is saying and the policy are just as important,” she said.