From Memphis-Midsouth DSA <[email protected]>
Subject Reaffirming Tami Sawyer Endorsement
Date September 20, 2019 6:41 PM
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** It's been a difficult week.

** Let's discuss reaffirming our endorsement of Tami Sawyer.

Dear Comrades,

I, on behalf of the Steering Committee, wanted to reach out to you all about some of the developments in Memphis over the past week or two. As many of you know, our chapter voted to endorse mayoral candidate Tami Sawyer very early in her campaign, and have had volunteers out canvassing for her for several months now.

I believed at that time, and still believe now, that it was the right decision to endorse her and to put our support behind her campaign. Hers is the campaign that most embodies our values as an organization, and her platform and goals for how to transform Memphis are miles ahead of her opponents’.

Not to spend too much time discussing the tweets from Tami‘s Twitter account that her opponents unearthed, most of them from 10 years ago, or discussing events that happened more than 10 years ago. At this point, either you have seen them, or you haven’t. I have spent hours over the last couple of weeks not only looking at the context in which these were made, but also responding to concerns from members of the community asking for my opinion about them, and also about her fitness as a candidate.

Having said that, and having invested the time that I have on what I feel is really a distraction from what should be the *real* issues facing Memphians, like poverty, homelessness, income inequality, lack of healthcare, overpolicing, and the trampling of civil rights by government entities, it is my personal belief, as well as of other members of the steering committee, that we should reaffirm our endorsement and see her campaign through to Election Day on October 3rd.

I believe that the steps she has taken to address her past statements have been appropriate, and sensitive to the concerns of the community. I participated in a Zoom call Tuesday morning with her as well as other endorsers such as the UCW, AFL-CIO, and Planned Parenthood. She addressed the concerns or questions that we had, and also let us know that she would be participating in a roundtable discussion with members of the LGBTQ Community Tuesday evening, including representatives from out Memphis as well as the Tennessee Equality Project. You may watch that round table discussion at the links below.

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And here is a transcript of that discussion, in case you prefer to read instead of watch:

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Before publicly reaffirming our chapter’s endorsement of her campaign, however, the Steering Committee wanted to give our membership the chance to weigh in, and to address any concerns you might have.

Unfortunately, we do not have another general meeting scheduled before Election Day, and if we as a chapter are going to reaffirm the endorsement, I believe we should do so as soon as possible. If you have specific concerns that you do not feel have been addressed, please reach out to me by responding to this email, or you may also call me on my cell, which is 615-513–4820. I ask that all questions/inquiries be submitted no later than noon tomorrow, which is Saturday, September 21st.

In Solidarity,

Jan Lentz
Memphis-Midsouth DSA

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