If you thought elections taking place this year would not be important because no one is running for president or governor, then IDAAC (the Indiana Democratic African-American Caucus) wants you to think again.
The organization wants to help more citizens get involved in the political process this year, when candidates will be running for Congress, Indiana Senate, Indiana House, Secretary of State, various county offices and other important positions.
“We want to continue to reach out to the community and people who don’t know much about politics,” said Marshawn Wolley, who was re-elected as president of the Indianapolis chapter of IDAAC last month. “We don’t want to just increase numbers, we want to create a broad spectrum of individuals that are affiliated with the organization. That means everyone from CEO and ex-offenders and people of diverse faiths, races and backgrounds.”
Over the next two months IDAAC will be conducting a major drive to encourage citizens in Indianapolis who care about their community to run for the office of precinct committee person (formerly known as precinct committeeman.)
“We want to help these people get elected so that they can be active and actually work at various levels of the Democratic Party,” said Wolley.
Members of precinct committees are key in selecting party officials and deciding party policies. Individuals who would like to run for the precinct committee person position may receive applications from the Marion County Clerk’s Office starting Jan. 19, and must have the applications turned in by Feb. 19.
In his second two-year term as president Wolley would also like to focus on strengthening the internal dynamics of IDAAC.
“We need to make sure we continue to have an organization that is strong, independent and functions properly,” said Wolley.
Formed by African-American elected officials in 1990, IDAAC is designed to inform members of important changes in local government and get them actively engaged in the political process.
Monthly meetings provide updates on pressing community developments and question-and-answer sessions with elected officials on critical issues.
Some people might question the need for an organization like IDAAC in an era when the nation has an African-American president, a Black Congressman represents the Indianapolis area and Blacks fill four of Marion County’s eight elected offices.
Wolley recently heard from an African-American man who suggested that Blacks in Marion County are disproportionately represented, or that the county has more elected officials than it should have.
“That is very sad, and that kind of mentality is why need IDAAC,” said Wolley. “If we think like that we will never see a Black governor or secretary of state in Indiana, or a Black mayor in Indianapolis.”
IDAAC also strives to provide citizens with a forum that can examine the issues that will allow members to develop their own sense of what needs to be done about challenges in the community and be able to act on it.
“One of our goals this election year is to get people involved where they are doing more than just passing out letters for campaigns, but helping to make major campaign decisions on a policy level,” he said.
IDAAC’s next monthly meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 9 at the Julia Carson Government Center, 300 E. Fall Creek Parkway. For more information visit www.idaacindy.org.