Dear Charniele Herring and the Democratic Party of Virginia,
Before I begin, I want to say that this letter comes out of over two year’s worth of frustration and disappointment. You see, I used to be an intern at the DPVA. I enjoyed my time there, the people, and the experience. I am grateful and I learned a lot about the inner-workings of state-level politics. I held my tongue out of respect for those who gave me that opportunity, but now I cannot be willfully silent any longer.
I saw your interview on Rachel Maddow the other night, and something really struck me as being off. You mentioned that TRAP showed us just how important voting for McAuliffe will be in November. But where was the DPVA during the TRAP hearings? Why was there no DPVA assistance, promotion, or outcries against Cuccinelli’s politicizing of the Board of Health? How come NO Democrat lawmakers showed up to the Board of Health? Two Republican Senators were there advocating for the adoption of these policies. Was it too early in the morning?
How dare you force local activists to put 100% of the effort into fighting these regulations, only to use our efforts and ultimate defeat as a platform to promote the Democratic Party. How do you expect us to vote Democratic in November when we’ve seen no REAL attempts to fight for women’s rights?
On April 12, 2013, the Board of Health (now stacked with political allies of gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli) voted on regulations they knew would shut down at least 17 of the 22 abortion clinics in the Commonwealth of Virginia. According to polls, 58% of Virginians opposed TRAP regulations. The ONLY contribution that the members of the DPVA provided to help us was a joint letter from Senators informing the Board of Health that the Attorney General’s opinion on grandfathering was wrong.
This is not the first time you and the DPVA have done this. I’ve seen your and your colleagues’ interviews on the local and national news countless times after demonstrations that WE engineered. During the 2012 General Assembly, my friends and I marched 1000+ people into the Capital TWICE in protest of anti-abortion bills. Again, you all were the ones on TV speaking over b-roll footage of our efforts- efforts the Democratic Party did NOTHING to assist, promote, or even encourage until after they proved beneficial. We asked for your help. We wanted your participation. Instead, we were met with what amounted to “Good luck, we’re rooting for you!”
Virginia has been completely overrun with Republican conservatives sending us back decades on voting rights, minority equality, environmental protection, prison reform, and of course women’s reproductive rights. You blame your lack of seats as reasons for why you’re so powerless to stop these bills. I blame your lack of spine, conviction, and willingness to fight for a cause through to the last minute.
It’s time to take the white gloves off and loosen your neckties. It’s time to stop playing trivial political games on Twitter and Facebook to please your donors. You’re going to lose this election, and you’ll lose it because no one counts on someone who does nothing, despite their good intentions.
I vote. My friends vote. We just don’t know who for anymore.
Local activist and organizer
Co-operator of Active-RVA