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Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair appoints Yamil Speight-Miller as Executive Director; an exclusive Q&A

5 Questions and Insights on BK Dem’s New Era of Leadership

October 13, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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The Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn has appointed Yamil Speight-Miller to serve as the Party’s Executive Director, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle learned in an exclusive interview.

Yamil Speight-Miller, who had been serving in the role in an interim capacity, most recently spearheading the Party’s successful Reconvened Organizational Meeting, is now assuming the permanent role as the senior manager and strategic planner for the nation’s largest Democratic county party.

With the Brooklyn Democratic Party recently re-electing leader Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, along with new Officers, Yamil provided insight into the “new era” of the Party as we approach the pivotal midterm general elections:

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Eagle: Can you tell us more about what exactly the Executive Director Role entails?

Yamil Speight-Miller (YSM): In a nutshell, the role is to oversee the organizational structure of the Party.

Day-to-day, it Includes managing our staff and volunteers, and on a larger level, I’m responsible for establishing a roadmap assisting in identifying ways the organization can improve to keep Kings county blue.

It involves acutely understanding the vision of our Party Chair and being politically aligned while having the sound ability to activate when the Dem party needs to prepare and respond to challenges.

With 22 Assembly Districts represented across Brooklyn, I’m ensuring our County Committee Chair is supported with resources and ideas to serve communities and our District Leaders who are the backbone of our County Committee members.

Finally, I am not operating in a silo–I am working with other County Committees across the downstate region that have a heart, mind, and soul to ensure that New York State is and remains blue and established as a Party.

I want to utilize this role to continue to set an example for the Party. Despite some myths and rumors of us being disorganized, we are truly making progress when people work together and understand civility and mission.

Eagle: What inspired and led you to become the Executive Director of the Brooklyn Democratic Party?

Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, Parliamentarian Robert Robinson and Executive Director Yamil Speight-Miller

YSM: I was inspired because the Brooklyn Democratic Party is a major force in the political universe, and as a public servant for over two decades, I can’t think of any other better place to help the community in a leadership role.

I took on the role because of the knowledge and awareness needed to apply vast organizational tools and leadership experience in order to achieve the mission of a party representing over one million Democrats. This is my courageous side.

Within the Party, prior to my current role, I was serving as a Vice Chair of the Party’s County Committee, where I gained valuable experience, especially when I served as Party Secretary during two special elections to fill vacancies for Assembly District 43 (which Dem Nominee Brian Cunningham won) and Assembly District 60 (won by Democrat Nikki Lucas).

Recognizing my 20+ years of public service and participatory roles serving the community, especially the vulnerable in Brooklyn, I know I have the experience to not only be an effective organizational Exec. Director, but also welcomed to work with leaders across this Party.

Eagle: With the pivotal midterm elections coming up, how do you intend to help engage voters and keep Brooklyn Blue?

YSM: First, I have been canvassing for Dem clubs since I was a child from Far Rockaway, Queens. This is not new to me, this is true to me. It’s all about frontline visibility, and interacting with the community and constituents reaffirming the liberties our party has afforded to all people.

My goal is to ensure Democrats who bring the best to the table are showcased, embraced, and echoed across our nation, especially to our Democratic body.

AD 60 Special Election: (left to right) BK Dems County Committee Chair Arleny Alvarado-McCalla, Party Chair Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, Assemblymember Nikki Lucas, NYS Supreme Court Democratic Nominee Aaron D. Maslow, and Yamil Speight-Miller

Eagle: What is your vision for bringing “the best Dems to the table” and improving the Party, especially when there are divisions within the Party?

YSM: My vision speaks to inclusivity. No person shall be left out in the days ahead and how we lead as a party.

We are incredibly politically diverse, with so many groups and parties within the Dem Party. The vision is to get a message across to every subdivision that we are ONE Democratic Party.

We need to ensure Dems are leading and capable of setting the stage for the future generations who will fill our shoes.

We are here to help support clubs, and remind them that it is ok to disagree–as long as we can agree that we are here to sustain the Democratic Party.

AD 43 Special Election: (left to right) Yamil Speight-Miller, District Leader Sarana Purcell
Party Chair Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, Assemblymember Brian Cunningham, and former DL Edu Hermelyn, with Party Volunteers (in the foreground).

Eagle: How are you going to use your background and experience to help the Party, especially in today’s divisive political environment?

YSM: I have a very diverse background, including working for the Department of Corrections, the Department of Health, Taxation & Finance and even as an investigator for the HRA.

The skills learned working with such diverse agencies apply to everything we do: you need to meet people where we are, not where we want them to be.

Being a public servant has allowed me to be successful in having meaningful conversations to learn from others. Education dictates how we operate, and that all starts with active listening.

I am also a longstanding labor warrior in unions. So I’ve been repping the body of Dems not only in the Party but also for the working class by understanding the working class struggle and public needs. Through this experience we can serve and hear everyone.

With the GOP today, we need to speak out against Trumpism and abuse of the people. We have to understand there is a vulnerable side that falls by the wayside, often subject to fear.

Leaders need to make sure people are heard and not feared and look at everyone collectively and inclusively.

We’re standing up for a Demand for Democracy. We’re standing for inclusion and having a say and influence in our governance.


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