How pleased I am at the outcome of the 40th Annual Three Governors’ event this past Saturday! More than 60 people attended and the spirit of celebration and recognition was apparent. Dr. Aimy Steele’s presentation set a tone of courage and determination in the face of challenges. The Candidates roundtable generated enthusiasm for the upcoming Municipals across the county and for the Burlington Primary Election day today. And the presentation of awards heralded the work and commitment of so many good Democrats in our county. Congratulations to Jessica Landes Johnson, Alan Schulkbier, and Tina Pierce, who respectively were given outstanding awards by the Democratic Women, Senior Democrats, and Native American Caucus. ACDP award winners Frankie Blackburn, Quinn Ray, Seneca Rogers, and Bebe O’Donnell are highlighted below.
Thank you for all you do. Chair Elliott Lynch, ACDP Chair
The Bertha B. Holt Lifetime Achievement Award—Frankie Blackburn
The word community is a noun that in its simplest form may mean a group of individuals, a town or neighborhood, fellowship. The word also often is attributive, meaning that it is used as an adjective, such as in community engagement, community building and organizing, community action/activism—any cluster of terms that denotes efforts within a community to bring it together. Yet without relationship and trust, communities of humans–because the human element is fundamental to community—cannot grow effectively. Long before we in the Party began this spring to focus on neighborhood and community as a means to engage our precincts, our Bea Holt award winner adopted the importance of relationship and trust in community as a personal core value and principal in life to develop in others. Bringing people together on a regular basis and using creative tools for easy interaction in a safe place; offering personal space to do that and working with community business owners to use fun, social space as well. A strong foundation has been developed as a result of our winner’s work and creed. Now neighbors come together to demonstrate, protest, work on critical issues, support candidates, volunteer to get out the vote, and donate to the Party and to candidates and encourage other to do so, as does our award winner. You have seen our winner throughout the community working, demonstrating, and shoring up others to achieve these goals. Working at Down Home, demonstrating in Graham, creating a unique culture and community and political environment in Saxapahaw, and, gratefully, this spring welcoming to her home members of the Southern Alamance Dems and the Party for our inaugural precinct ice cream social. Meet and congratulate, our Bertha B. Holt Lifetime Achievement winner, Frankie Blackburn!!
ACDP Democrat of the Year—Quinn Ray
Watch him and appreciate how he engages with people—the broad and genuine smile, direct gaze, intent listening, sincerely respectful demeanor. Listen to him and hear his passion and enthusiasm and understand his values, his compassion; he wears them on his sleeve as the expression goes. You know where he stands. You know, without a doubt, that he understands his privilege and that his heart and soul bend toward justice and equality for all. He works at it, speaks passionately to it, demonstrates for it. A big-tent Democrat, he recognizes the variety of opinions and approaches that both guide and challenge us yet he believes the Party needs to work at being more proactive and that those with disparate opinions need to understand the importance and value of working within the party. You also see that he values advice and considers others’ opinions, taking them to heart and modifying an approach when appropriate. You have seen him stand up for what he believes, in his role as an alderman and work with and for organizations such as the NAACP, and other organizations in his native Alamance County. And, WE have seen him step up time-after-time in response to our requests to work with and for the party, helping to create a successful Boones’ Precinct social this summer, and, most notably, as chair of the Candidate Outreach Committee. Please congratulate Quinn Ray, our ACDP Democrat of the Year!!
ACDP Volunteer of the Year—Seneca Rogers
Ask anyone about this award winner and they will tell you he is ALL-IN for his neighborhood, his community, Alamance County, and the ideals and vision of the Democratic Party. Ask anyone WHAT stands out the most and they will tell you that he is committed: once he initiates something—at home, at church, in his school job, in his precinct, on a committee, and as a candidate, he works tirelessly to get the job done. He shows up. He completes the work, often before others on a committee do. When asked to take something on, he carefully calibrates his ability and once he accepts, he sticks to it. If something changes and he believes he no longer is able to measure up, he steps aside. He is about building relationships—demonstrated clearly in his efforts: Within his precinct and his community. At his school, with the kids he coaches. On the Candidate Outreach Committee through which he developed and now maintains effective relationships with potential candidates across the county. He models the thinking that it takes a village of collective minds with shared values working together to get things done. He believes in and fights for the goals of the Democratic Party, especially solid educational opportunities for everyone. Emblazoned across his iconic tee-shirt, the words “We are the Neighborhood” say it all. Congratulations to Seneca Rogers, our ACDP Volunteer of the Year!!
ACDP “Faye Oliver” Outstanding Precinct Chair: Bebe O’Donnell
Enthusiastic, dedicated, organized, determined, persuasive, systematic, consistent, present, connected. These are just a few of the adjectives one would use to describe our outstanding precinct chair of the year. This chair and her precinct officers and members are active participants, at-the-ready to step up as volunteers—to cover the polls, to participate in phone banks, to write letters and postcards. She can pick up the phone and sign up more than 10 to phone bank or work at the polls and more than 20 people to participate in a precinct social. She has opened her home to volunteers who wish to actively support the work of Alamance County—hosting last fall, for example, a friend from Virginia for over two months, a person who did more work for the elections than any ten volunteers together. Yet, the most descriptive word one should apply to our Faye Oliver Outstanding Precinct Chair of the year is creative. Who do you know who would identify an extremely cost-conscious opportunity to buy multitudes of ice cream bars and snacks at Lidl, gather multiple other individuals’ coupons, and take numerous trips over multiple days to purchase the stock? Who else do you know would then take a hot glue gun and decorate all her Coleman coolers with ice cream cone prints she cut out from saved Aldi shopping bags? That would be Bebe O’ Donnell of West Boone. Bebe, congratulations and thank you for all that do for the Democratic Party and for Democratic candidates.