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Service and political unity bring different Brooklyn clubs together in MLK’s name

Organized across borough, district leaders take key role

January 19, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in a nation of freedom and justice for all, and encouraged residents to live up to their purpose and potential by uniting to help others. Brooklynites and Democratic clubs of varied ideologies did just that during this weekend’s MLK Day of Service.

The Brooklyn Democratic Party hosted seven volunteer events to distribute food and giveaway Covid personal protective equipment (PPE) and virus test kits to the community. The borough-wide events were in collaboration with the Brooklyn Young Democrats, Bay Democrats, RBG Democratic Club, Independent New Democrats (IND), the Arthur Ashe Democratic Club, the Shirley Chisholm Democratic Club, and the Vanguard Independent Democratic Association.

Bolstering Brooklynites Boroughwide

The acts of service arguably couldn’t have come at a more needed time–amidst the raging Omicron variant, overloaded hospitals, NYC’s coldest week of the year, and the expiration of the state eviction moratorium. Democratic clubs and an outpouring of volunteers provided hot food and PPE in seven Assembly Districts, ranging from Bedstuy to Boerum Hill.

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“We are here to remember MLK’s legacy as it relates to giving for the poor, fighting for workers’ rights, fighting for the working class, and servicing each other,” said Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn at the Shirley Chisholm Democratic Club’s PPE and food giveaway, which took place on Saturday in honor of MLK’s birthday. (Bichotte Hermelyn is a founder of the club.)

Unity of Democratic Clubs for Common Good

The Independent New Democrats and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Club partnering for a food distribution at the Wykoff Houses in Boerum Hill. Participants included Assemblymember Joanne Simon (52nd AD), Sabrina Rezzy, President of the RBG Dem Club, Councilmember Lincoln Restler, and Judges Anne Swern and Heela Capell.

The Brooklyn Democratic Party is the overarching county committee of the Democratic Party of NY. It elects District Leaders, makes endorsements, and selects candidates for local public offices, including judicial candidates and the Democratic Party’s nominee in special elections (most recently Nikki Lucas for the 60th Assembly District race). And the Brooklyn Dem Party certainly plays an outsized role in politics, with Brooklyn as the new political powerhouse (Mayor Eric Adams, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, City Comptroller Brad Lander, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, NYS AG Letitia James all hail from the borough).

Yet NYC’s most-populous borough is also home to a patchwork of local Democratic clubs; whose varied political ideologies reflect the heterogeneity of the borough.

It can vary from long standing progressive borough-wide clubs focused on reform (arguably the most vocal is the New Kings Democrats, formed in 2008), to clubs representing the LGBTQ community, like the Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn.

There are also clubs focused solely on Assembly Districts, many founded and informally led by elected officials, like the Bay Democrats Club, which focuses on Southern Brooklyn’s 45th AD and was created by City Councilmember Ari Kagan.

There’s also a new wave of clubs, whose membership skews younger, like the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Club, which is dedicated to electing and empowering women, and increasing civic engagement.

While these clubs are not officially part of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, some of their members serve on the committee and participate in party affairs.

And although there are squabbles, many of these clubs united for a common good; reflecting civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. King’s Nobel-prize winning philosophies of unity and love to uplift all.

As Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair Rodneyse Hermelyn Bichotte said, “Rev. Martin Luther King’s legacy lives on today, and every day.”

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