Based on 2010 census data, ethnic minorities made up over 35% of the population in Illinois. Nothing is more important to the future of Illinois politics than the minority vote.
One thing that is certain about the future of the minority population and that is–its continued growth, is certain. Whoever captures the heart and minds of this ever growing population with sound public policy that impacts their lives will likely be rewarded with political majorities.
Failing to understand the importance of intentional engagement, shared resources and a true desire to actualize the dreams of this population would be at the parties own peril. The traditional modes of communication and media coupled with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Blogs do not allow autonomy from public policy decisions. Parties will be held accountable for their agenda or lack their of if true inclusion within minority groups does not happen. Again, this ever growing population will be the “must have vote” if you want to win elections in the foreseeable future.
Earlier, I spoke about intentional engagement. Consciously and deliberately connecting with minority groups in order to seek common values, desires and vision for the future is mandatory. This purposeful action will also lead to a better understanding of the needs and wants that are very specific to that minority population. Once there is true understanding, the strategy on how accomplish demographic specific, as well as collective goals will undoubtedly flow.
Shared resources is often a misunderstood concept. Wikipedia says, Politics involves the making of a common decision for a group of people, that is, a uniform decision applying in the same way to all members of the group. It also involves the use of power by one person to affect the behavior of another person. More narrowly, it refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance — organized control over a human community, particularly a state. Furthermore, politics is the distribution of power and resources within a given community. Shared resources speaks to the necessity of basic human engagement that is responsible for strengthening social ties and ensuring that the finite resources that are available will not simply be siphoned off for the group that currently has the upper hand. Shared resources gives real consideration for the “bigger picture” and understands that collectively we will achieve much more together if all entities see and feel the value of that marriage.
Ultimately, the end goal is to have a vision for the future and actualize that vision through the sincere collective effort of the entire coalition. This vision for a better, stronger state for the next generation is the tie that binds and keeps coalitions together through good times and bad.
As a lifelong Democrat, I believe our party is best positioned to capture the minority vote for the foreseeable future, but that demands true, sincere minority outreach. The collective goals of our party requires continued intentional engagement and the true sharing of resources if we are to continue to cohesively move forward. The power of the possibility is exemplified when we do this. I am excited and encouraged when I think about what is possible for the Democratic Party!
Representative Jehan A. Gordon-Booth
Assistant Majority Leader