Keith Ellison looks to build from the ground up

Keith Ellison, U.S. 5th District representative of the state of Minnesota, is interviewed by Tevin Stinson of The Chronicle.

Keith Ellison looks to build from the ground up
January 19
09:15 2017

Photo by Timothy Ramsey



During a brief interview with The Chronicle on Monday after the Prayer Breakfast held at the Embassy Suites in downtown Winston-Salem, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison said it’s time for a culture change within the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Ellison is vying for DNC chairperson.  He earlier spoke to more than 1,000 people at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Breakfast Forum, also known as the Prayer Breakfast, which was sponsored by The Chronicle and the Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity.

“We have to create a culture of reaching out to the voter,” continued Ellison, “not to win over voters but to create a sense of community. We can literally create community through politics, and I think that has to be the goal.”

Along with more community engagement, Ellison said if elected to the top DNC position, he will also look to de-emphasize television. At a place in time where technology can be used to talk directly to voters, Ellison said that could be a tool that can help build community.

“You can do a live stream video on Facebook and jump right over CBS, ABC, NBC, and CNN and talk directly to people. We can get local leaders on a national live stream telling people about the history of the Democratic Party and we wouldn’t have to worry about the filter of network television.”

On the weekend of Feb. 24, members of the Democratic National Committee will meet and vote to determine its new chairperson. With just over a month left before the decision is made, Ellison said, “I’m going to put what I have to offer in front of the people and they’re going to vote for me or they aren’t.

“I’m not ego-invested in this. I’m going to help whoever does win and if I win, I’m going to ask them to help me.”

Ellison said that to bring about real change when it comes to social justice and economic uplift, those who believe in democracy must take a page from Dr. King’s book and build from the ground up.

Ellison reminded those in attendance that although Dr. King was one of the driving forces behind the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the movement started from humble beginnings in Montgomery, Alabama with the bus boycott.

“We have to start with our grass root organizations. Yes, Dr. King met with Lyndon Bates Johnson and other people who had power, but the real work he was doing was in the community. He was in the barbershops, the churches, he was knocking on doors,” Ellison said.

“Back then politics didn’t happen in Washington, D.C. politics happened on the local level, and if you and I are going to succeed in this era we must go to the people. It’s hard to get change if you don’t get people to consent to change.”

The older brother of local lawyer and Forsyth County Democratic Party Chairman Eric Ellison, Keith became the first Muslim elected to Congress when he was picked by voters to represent Minnesota’s 5th District in 2006. Late last year, Ellison officially put his name in the hat to become the next DNC Chairperson. With the race for the position heating up in recent months, Ellison said the same grassroots work that helped keep Minnesota a “Blue State,” and raise voting turnout by 5 percent in his district could have the same impact on the national level if all 50 states buy-in.

About Author

Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors