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As a resident of the TRUNA neighborhood I am grateful for all the wonderful work of Councilman Bell for the last two...

Progressive Democrats

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

What does it mean to be a progressive? What does it mean to be a Progressive Democrat? More than a movement, it is a feeling. The feeling you get when you know you are doing what is in the best interest of the underserved and underprivileged. The feeling you get when you know working people and working families have a true voice in our democracy.

It’s the feeling we all get when we know universal healthcare, tuition-free public college and university education, action on climate change, criminal justice reform, and a living wage are all things that can become a reality in our country. Its politics and politicians free from the influence of big money special interests, whose billions of dollars control the decision making abilities of our elected officials, or at least most of them. Simply put, it’s a government that is responsive to the needs of all its people!

That means all people, regardless of race, sex, national origin, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity are treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve. It’s about providing a truly equal opportunity for all to succeed and live dignified lives. It says enough is enough, our government is supposed to work for us, not against us. And that is why it is such an exciting time for the progressive movement in the United States.

Our organization was created by Bernie Sanders, shortly after the 2016 Democratic primary. It intends to empower regular, every day people to participate in government and effectively bring the power back to the people. It is transforming the Democratic Party back into what it once was, the Party of the People, fighting for the rights and equality of not just the few, but the many. In some ways, we as Democrats, have accomplished many good things for this country, yet, in the recent past, the influence of corporate money and establishment politics has led to a consistently failing organization. This is seen clearly since 2010, with Democrats losing over 1,000 seats nationwide and the presidency to the likes of Donald Trump. We’re not here to infiltrate or takeover the Democratic Party, we’re here to transform the Democratic Party, and it starts with all of us.

Our mission is simple: Revitalize American democracy, empower progressive leaders, and elevate the political consciousness of all people in the United States. Here’s a great example of how this is working, from right here in Greenville. Recently, at the Pitt County Democratic Party convention, the event that happens every two years to elect a new board of six members and a delegation to the North Carolina Democratic Party State Executive Committee, progressives from across Pitt County won numerous seats. One of those was for second vice chair of the Pitt County Democratic Party, the position to which I was elected.

I am an urban planning student at East Carolina University, grocery stocker at Food Lion and avid political activist. I am living a life that is very similar to the average student on campus. I’m just a normal, middle class student. Several other students were elected as well. This is what we mean about the revitalization of democracy. Participation as a voting member of a party should have nothing to do with “tenure” or money, instead it should value passion. We should welcome the new energy created by the election of Donald Trump with open arms.

It’s what we want and it’s what the Democratic Party needs to succeed. We’re here, ready to bring the party back to the people of eastern North Carolina and to the rest of this country. And that’s why I’m asking all of you for your help. Connect with us on Facebook and attend rallies, meetings, participate in campus organizations like SustainECU, ECU College Democrats, Young Democrats, and Eco Pirates, to give your passion a voice! If you want to know how you can get involved, visit www.facebook.com/ECU4Bernie or www.facebook.com/PittCountyforOurRevolution. To see our true mission and purpose, visit www.ourrevolution.com.

Zachary Pate is second vice chairman of the Pitt County Democratic Party, administrator of ECU for Our Revolution and a senior at East Carolina University.

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