Letter to California Democratic Party Black Caucus
January 12, 2022
California Democratic Party Black Caucus:
We appreciate your efforts to support all delegates seeking to create spaces where candidates of color can get elected and effectuate change in their community. As board members of the Community Democratic Club, a club created to recruit and support Black candidates in Solano County, and one of the largest democratic clubs in the county, we have been working to educate and engage democrats so as to have direct impact on election outcomes.
One of our most recent victories was the establishment of Congressional District 8. We followed California Redistricting efforts very closely, and found that we needed to fight against the creation of maps that would have matched us with communities with whom we have nothing in common and threatened to make the Black community voiceless. The percentage of Blacks in the previously proposed congressional district, which threatened to place Vallejo in communities in Yolo County, would have make the Black population less than 5% compared to over 19% in this newly created Solano-North Contra Costa 8th Congressional District.
As a community, we wrote letters, tweeted, submitted written testimony before the California Redistricting Commission where this matter was being considered. Our engagement and advocacy make it possible for Congressional District 8 to exist. It was the intention of the Black Census and Redistricting Commission and the various communities of interests to make the 8th Congressional District a seat for a person of color and an opportunity to finally have just representation.
The newly formed District has 760,000 residents, and 61.62% of them are people of color. It is 23% Latino, 19.53% Asian, and 19.33% Black. Only 35% of residents in the District are white. Not counting the City of Oakland, which is 23.75% Black, District 8 has cities with the largest concentration of Black people in the Bay Area: Richmond (22%), Vallejo (22%), Suisun City (21%), Fairfield (15.21%), Pittsburg (17.7%), and Antioch (21.47%).
We are now of the understanding that a current member of Congress has announced his intention to run for Congress in our newly created district, and is under consideration to be granted the “incumbent” title by the Democratic Party. We also understand that he does not reside in the District. Although domicile is not a requirement, we believe that our District would be better served by someone who is familiar with the issues and challenges and can give a voice in Congress to the concerns of Black people and other people of color.
We would like for you to look into this mater and request that the Democratic Party not grant this candidate incumbent status on the upcoming Primary ballot. Otherwise, our work to create this district will have been in vain as we are being handed an “incumbent candidate” who does not have a track record of representing communities like ours.
Our expectation is that no candidate be granted incumbent status in the race. This will give all candidates a level playing field as they work to get elected in the newly created Congressional District 8.
Calvin Harrell, President
Community Democratic Club