Chair Cynthia Moore Chestnut called the meting to order at 7:04 PM, Wednesday, 14 March 2018 in the Hall of Heroes, GPD, Gainesville, Florida.


Chair Chestnut led members in the Pledge to the Flag followed by a moment of silence in memory of Ermon Owens, President of the Alachua County Black Caucus, and the 17 teachers and faculty members slaughtered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, FL one month ago today.


Agenda: A motion was made to adopt the agenda with the addition of “Young Leaders’ Summit – April O’Neal” at the end of New Business, seconded.  The motion was amended as follows, change “March Steering Committee” to “to accept for review minutes of the February Steering Committee” under “Minutes” on the meeting’s agenda, seconded, and carried.  The main motion then carried.


Minutes: A motion was made to approve the minutes of the previous meeting, seconded, and carried.


Introduction of Guests:  Chair Chestnut introduced the following guests: Natasha Alexander, Scott Austin, Gabriel Baumgartner, Doug Bernal, Ken Brown, Maia Crook, Malcolm Dixon, Anmal Gosai, Dalak Gosai, Duchyant Gosai, Katie McIntyr, Cheryl Owen, Ahmik Paul, Cynthia Tanner, Ray Washington, and Rachel Xu.


Treasurer’s Report: The Chair announced that a Treasurer’s Report will be issued in April along with the 2018 budget.


Middle School Black History Month Essay Contest Winners:  The following students from Lincoln Middle School were introduced, and they read their essays:  Rachel Xu, First Place ($200), Ahmik Paul, Second Place ($150), and Primrose Tanachaiwiwat, Third Place ($75).  The topic of the essay was, “What would you kneel for?”  Members thought all the essays were passionate and moving and awarded the students with a standing ovation.  The teachers of the students, Ms. Tanner and Ms. McIntyr, were also recognized.


Chair’s Report: The chair reported on the DEC-sponsored Gainesville City Commission Candidates’ Forum, held on Washington’s Birthday at the T. B. McPherson Center.

Voter Registration will take place on 15 March.

The Chair appointed Doug Bernal to be VAN Administrator.


Membership Committee:  Chair Chanae Baker announced that there will be a new member orientation  beginning at 5:30 PM, 28 March, at the Santa Fe-CIED Center.  Orientations will occur quarterly.  Committee member Jeff Stern reported that presently we have 101 members and 161 openings.  After making a recruitment pitch, he said that the committee’s goal is to add 50 new members by 30 June.  After two prospective members were introduced, a motion was made to separate the vote on the two persons so that each could be voted on individually.  It was seconded and failed 9-26. There followed a motion to accept the applications of Doug Bernal (Pct 7) and Armondo Grundy (Pct 28) with all the rights and privileges thereunto appertaining, seconded, and carried.


New Business: State Committeeman Terry Fleming presented resolutions entitled “Regulating Semi-Automatic Weapons, Opposing Candidates Funded by the NRA, and Supporting Black Lives Matter.” (See attached.)   During the discussion Terry led, there was a motion to strike the phrase “…and prohibits the sale of semi-automatics and accessories, including but not limited to, all semi-automatic weapons….” from the first resolution, failed for wont of a second.  There was discussion to remove the paragraph on Black Lives Matter and write a separate resolution on that topic.  After further discussion, there was a motion to approve these resolutions, seconded, and carried 41-4.

Secretary Richard Powell presented some ideas, considered at last week’s SC meeting, about how the DEC could respond to last month’s shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. (See attached.)  During the discussion that followed, a suggestion was made to replace “lenient” with “flexible” in No 1, to add a statement to encourage all 16-year olds to preregister to vote, and to add a representative from Black Lives Matter in No. 3.  After more discussion, there followed a motion to accept these suggestions and to move forward with them, seconded, and carried.

April O’Neal spoke about the Gainesville March at Bo Diddley Plaza.

There will be a candidates’ forum for those running for Florida CD 3 at 6:30 PM, 26 March, at the Santa Fe-CIED Center.

Chair Chestnut requested permission to speak on behalf of the DEC at the next SBAC meeting in opposition to arming teachers at their schools.  Motion to support the Chair’s request, seconded, and carried unanimously.

Chair Chestnut reported that the DEC is planning a Young Leaders’ Summit for late April here in Gainesville.  We are trying to get the city to co-sponsor the event so we can have it at Bo Diddley Plaza.  A coalition including the DEC, Young Democrats, UF and SF College Democrats, GHS High School Democrats, Indivisible, Moms Demand Action, Indivisible, and Dream Defenders will plan and sponsor the summit.  It was suggested that the Bernie campaign and Our Revolution be invited to join the coalition.  The consensus was that 28 April would be the best date.  Candidates for governor will be invited as well as FL Representatives Clovis Watson and Carlos Guillermo Smith.  After some discussion, Cynthia announced that representatives of these organizations will meet at 6:00 PM, 21 March, at the DEC Office.

Barbara McDade-Gordon, Co-Chair of the Program Committee, reported on the evaluation of last month’s program, and she will put the evaluations up on the website.  She also asked for more members of the committee.


Member’s Concerns: Robert Mounts explained that he resigned as State Committeeman because he needed to support his wife in her new job.  He did not resign, contrary to some rumors, because he was angry at any one person or persons.  “Let’s fight, fight hard, and fight fairly!”

Lee Malis reported on the event he is planning in Melrose on 21 April called “Heave ho to Yoho and Perry.”


Candidate Introductions:  The following candidates introduced themselves and spoke briefly: Tom
Wells, FL CD 3; Amol Jethwani, FL HD 21; Yvonne Hinson-Rawls, FL CD 3; Gunnar Paulson, SBAC District 3; Kristen Young, on behalf of Gigi Simmons, Gainesville City Commission District 1; Casey Willits, on behalf of Harvey Budd, Gainesville City Commission AL; and Duchyant Gosai, FL CD 3.

Gunnar announced that DEC member and Oak Hall School teacher Marna Weston has recently been named the Florida Forensics League Debate Coach of the Year.


Public Comment: Joe Courtier announced that Roy Zimmerman will be performing at The Midnight beginning at 7:30, 20 March.


There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:47 PM.


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