ST. PETERSBURG — In March, a group of 18 leaders from Pinellas County assembled at the local Democratic Party Headquarters to charter a local chapter of the Pinellas County Democratic Black Caucus.
“Our mission is to enhance the lives of African Americans in Pinellas County through empowerment, pride of culture, involvement in government and community issues, building partnerships, and development of political strength,” said Corey Givens Jr., Outreach Chair for the Pinellas County Democratic Executive Committee, who will serve as President of the newly reactivated caucus.
“Our club will be defined by its independent nature, which will be based on the ideas of the group’s members, giving everyone a voice,” Givens added. “We want to work with other organizations and civic clubs, but we will serve independently and act independently!”
The organization had been inactive for a number of years until Givens was approached by Pinellas County Democratic Party Chair Susan McGrath about reestablishing a Pinellas County chapter. McGrath saw the need for the chapter’s rebirth during a critical election year.
The primary objectives of the Pinellas County Democratic Black Caucus are as follows:
Promote the principles of the Democratic Party at all levels and to stimulate an active interest in public affairs that will foster a better and more representative government.
Support and solicit support for legislation and governmental action on national, state, and local levels that are reflective of the best interest of the people in the respective areas.
Unite and increase the political power and influence of Black Democrats within the Pinellas County Democratic Party.
Recruit, develop and encourage qualified citizens to become candidates for public office.
Over the years, the DBC has focused its efforts on voter registration drives, Get out the Vote, canvassing for campaigns and Voter Action Network training. The Democratic Black Caucus has also attempted to fight back against unethical rulings and laws handed down from the Republican majority in Tallahassee that have threatened the ability for certain groups to be able to reasonably cast a ballot in elections, per their constitutional rights.
Most recently there has been a shift to phone banking and community-wide educational seminars to increase vote by mail especially for those who otherwise would have trouble voting or were thrown of the rolls by procedures from the state and Federal government. The Black Caucus has also been responsive to those from our community who are frustrated with certain new policies and interpretations of laws such as “Stand Your Ground.”
According to Givens, the Caucus will target issues as it relates to equality, education, the economy and the environment.
The Pinellas County Democratic Black Caucus Leadership includes: Corey Givens Jr. (president), Norma Roberts (vice president), Diane Lebedeff (secretary) and JerJuan Green (treasurer).
The Caucus meets on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at the Democratic Party Headquarters, 2250 First Ave. N, St Pete.
There are more than 18 Democratic Black Caucus of Florida chapters. They represent over 1.2 million Black voters registered as Democrats in Florida. The DBCF was established in1983, formed to unite and increase the political power for Black Democrats who were unnoticed and underserved in the state. The Democratic Black Caucus of Florida is by no means exclusionary. All registered Democrats who subscribe to the Caucus objectives and goals are invited to join.
For more information, visit www.dbcflorida.org.
Contact Corey Givens Jr. at (727) 433-5477 for a membership application.