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Abridged Minutes from April 10th meeting of
POC LGBT Political Club Discussion

(minutes taken by Joseph DeFilippis)

1. Introductions:
People briefly introduced themselves by name, and later explained their reasons for coming to the meeting (see #2 below). For a list of those in attendance, contact Doug Robinson.

2. Is A Political Club Needed?
Most people present said "yes", and gave the following reasons:
-- to represent ourselves, since the other LGBT political clubs do not
-- to empower the POC communities
-- to gain influence in the Democratic party
-- to address economic justice issues
-- to raise issues that other clubs ignore, so that those clubs start to address them too

A question was also raised regarding the pros and cons of being a club/organization vs. being a coalition of many organizations

3. How do we Form a Club?
The following issues were raised:
-- How to deal with the diverse backgrounds, and varying levels of organizational infrastructures, in the different POC LGBT communities (as exemplified by Latino AIDS organizations vs. African-American AIDS organizations)
-- Would this club just do endorsements? What else (i.e. – voter registration? voter education? demands after the victory? etc.)
-- How do we bring in a more diverse group of people (re: race and gender identity) to help form the club?
-- How set is the agenda/mission for this club already? Is there room for the new ideas that may come with new voices?
-- Is it wise to form a Club now, so close to elections, and still try to make endorsements for these elections?
-- Would we be City-wide or borough-specific? What are the issues raised by either of those options?
-- Literature was distributed explaining the structures of other clubs that we could use as models.

The models presented were clubs of the Democratic party, which raised the question of whether this was going to be a partisan club. Some people came to this meeting fully expecting that we were discussing forming a Democratic club, where as others came expecting that we were discussing forming a non-partisan Political club.

Those in favor of a Democratic Club gave the following reasons:

-- To build POC LGBT power within the system that exists.
-- To be actively involved in primary endorsements, in a city where the democratic primaries often determine the victor of the general election
-- It would provide legitimacy to the club, as partisan clubs are the standard model
-- It would attract people who identify as POC LGBT Democrats and have, thus far, had no where to go
-- Allow us to part of the selection of Delegates

Those opposed to a partisan club gave the following reasons:
-- The Democratic Party is a corrupt institution that has abandoned POC interests and some of us did not want to pimp for them.
-- Interested in being more inclusive of all political beliefs of POC people, so that all POC LGBT people are given a voice
-- Are interested in forming a Progressive Club with a clear ideology (that is not consistent with Democratic Party).
-- We want to be able to endorse a 3rd party candidate if we believe them to be the best candidate.
-- Many POC are disgusted with the political system as it is, and our being a partisan club will appear to them as more of the same, and will thus repel them.
-- We can endorse candidates in any party (regardless of whether we are a partisan club or not).

4. Next Steps
We agreed that we needed to do the following:
-- conduct more outreach so that the next meeting had a larger, more diverse group of LGBT POC
-- contact political scientists to get their input
-- investigate other models of political clubs (are there any non-partisan political clubs already in existence?)
-- consider other non-partisan organizations that are not political clubs but which still do endorsements (i.e. – Empire State Pride Agenda) and see if there is anything we can model after them

5. Meeting Date
The next meeting has been scheduled for Monday, April 23rd at 6pm
at the Osborne Association at 135 E. 15th Street.

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Updated: 05/01/2001