On Monday, Oakland City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan was joined by colleagues Noel Gallo and Sheng Thao, and the trio issued a short press release via her amazing Chief of Staff Kimberly Jones that went like this:
OAKLAND, CA (November 23, 2020) — Today, Oakland Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan, Noel Gallo, and Sheng Thao wrote an open letter to Governor Gavin Newsom encouraging him to appoint Congressperson Barbara Lee to the United States Senate as California’s representative.
Barbara Lee has shown, both with her words and with her actions, a deep commitment to justice and a willingness to uplift truth and justice. Lee is an experienced member of the Congress and can easily transition into the US Senate at a difficult time in history. We are living in a time that has shown that we must recognize and honor the leadership of Black women.
And this is the text of the full letter to Governor Newsom:
Dear Governor Newsom:
At this time, you have an important decision to make, in selecting California’s representation in the United States Senate. This is a vital moment, and an opportunity to help ensure that our values will be represented by someone with dedication and commitment. We need someone who is unafraid to confront wrongdoing and injustice, who can effectively build coalitions, and can help ensure that everyone in our communities has a voice and is respected in our nation’s decision-making process.
We also recognize that with the upcoming departure of Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris from the Senate, that we would potentially be left with no Black women in the Senate, at the same time that it is vitally important, as many more have also said, that we must recognize and honor the leadership of Black women.
We are incredibly honored to be represented by a courageous and dedicated leader — Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and would like to encourage you to appoint Barbara Lee to the Senate. Barbara Lee has shown, both with her words and also with her actions, a deep commitment to justice, and a willingness to uplift truth and justice — even in the face of pressure not to. Lee is an experienced member of congress, and can easily transition into the Senate at a difficult time in history. This is the kind of proven leadership and representation that California needs to help move America forward, and to ensure a more equitable future.
What’s interesting about this effort is who didn’t sign on to it, as much as who did. Where’s Dan Kalb, Nikki Bas, Loren Taylor, Lynette Gibson McElhaney, and Noel Gallo? Personally, I think Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf herself should chime in with a signature and statement of support. Yes, it’s known that the Mayor of Oakland wants the Senate seat still held by Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris and until after January 20th, but given that Lee’s 74 and an historic figure in American Politics, not backing the idea just seems wrong. Besides, Libby wanting Harris’ seat doesn’t mean she can’t cheer for Barbara Lee. So, she should.