Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Blacks Mobilize for Change

Dana Boone writes today on African-American political activism at the Caucuses:

“African-American leaders and others predict an increased number of blacks will flock to the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3 to hammer home the message that they want change.

‘I think that there is a renewed optimism among blacks, generated in large part by the viability of Barack Obama's presidential run, his message of ‘change that we can believe in’ and the fact that the previous administration has polarized this country . . .’ said Abraham Funchess (top right), division administrator for the Iowa Department of African-American Affairs. . . . .

The increased attention to politics has occurred as Funchess orchestrated a statewide push to mobilize blacks to improve their communities. Grass-roots organizations have trained blacks -- some who admitted they were uneasy in the political realm -- on how to caucus. Obama's staff has for months attended black community meetings and participated in discussions about the issues affecting blacks and advised them on how to change things through politics, which has helped connect some would-be caucus-goers to his campaign. . . . .

Iowa's population is 2.3 percent black. It's difficult to determine how many blacks have participated in past Iowa caucuses because the question is not asked of caucus-goers. Despite being a small percentage of the state's population, blacks around the state appear poised to make their voices heard. . . .

‘If nothing more, our constituency will opt less for political apathy and engage the democratic process and allow our voices to be heard, both on national and state level politics and organizing,’ [Funchess] said."

Dana Boone's full story appears in the Iowa Independent.

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