Kenyan McDuffie is the type of leader that Ward 5 needs. He is intelligent, he has key experience in diverse matters from public safety to public policy, and he is a staunch supporter of the LGBT community. These are some of the reasons that Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, D.C.’s largest LGBT political organization, endorsed Kenyan McDuffie for Ward 5 Council. These traits are also why I personally support Kenyan McDuffie, as well.
This special election is important to the direction of Ward 5 and the District as a whole. It is important to get someone who can hit the ground running. Kenyan is that person. He has worked as a policy adviser to the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice and as a civil rights attorney for the Department of Justice. His experience makes him the ideal person to ensure the safety of the LGBT community and to ensure that our community’s civil and human rights are respected.
As president of the Stein Club, I have had numerous opportunities to see Kenyan interact with our community. He is a Stein Club member, a Human Rights Campaign member and he interacts with ease when engaging with the LGBT community. He unequivocally supported marriage equality when he ran for Council in 2010. His key opponent, Delano Hunter, opposed marriage equality in 2010, supported a voter referendum, and did not object to the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage producing ads on his behalf. While Hunter says he has changed his views, our rights are too important to entrust to someone who has not always been supportive of those rights.
It is very important to have someone who we know, without a shadow of a doubt, will protect our rights. Kenyan McDuffie is that person. Kenyan has committed to support key LGBT initiatives. In his questionnaire for the Stein Club, Kenyan expressed support for a comprehensive strategy to address hate crimes, providing critical funding support to LGBT social service organizations, and programs that help LGBT youth find “safe housing, healthcare, and meaningful paths out of homelessness.”
Ward 5 needs an effective Council member who they trust now more than ever. Kenyan McDuffie is the best person to fulfill that task. His endorsements by the Stein Club, the overwhelming majority of the labor community, DC for Democracy and the Sierra Club, among other organizations, demonstrate his viability as a candidate and his ability to rally support. Now we must all help to rally support and ensure that Kenyan McDuffie is elected as the Ward 5 Council member on May 15.
Lateefah Williams is president of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club.