RSVP for the Annual Local Convention JUNE 29th! (and visit the Brake Light Clinic & Hurricane Prep and Solidarity Event TOMORROW!)

Hey comrades!

Mark your calendar for our Local Convention! 📆 RSVP HERE (especially if you need to indicate any accessibility, dietary, or childcare needs!)

Our Local Convention is an annual meeting where our members elect chapter leadership, vote on amendments to our bylaws, discuss the political direction of our chapter, and review the year’s progress, priorities, and upcoming challenges to overcome. It’s our largest gathering of the year, so it’s also a great opportunity for socializing, building community, and sharing good food.

We will be holding a hybrid convention, with in-person meeting at the Broadmoor Community Church (2021 S Dupre St) and on Zoom (registration link here) starting at 12pm noon on Saturday, June 29th.

Please RSVP as soon as you can, and visit our Convention Hub at bit.ly/NOLADSA24 for more info. We look forward to seeing you there!

Nominations are open for the Municipal Action Committee Co-chairs. Members in good standing are eligible and can nominate themselves. Please submit your nomination (link here) by June 22nd.

ALSO! TOMORROW (SAT 6/15) @ 11AM-2PM — Brake Light Clinic, Health Fair, & Hurricane Prep and Solidarity Event at A.L. Davis Park, Saturday 11am-2pm!

  • We can check and change your brake light, take your blood pressure, connect you to community health resources, share food and cold drinks, and chat about achieving socialist revolution together!
  • We’ll also be hosting a Solidarity and Hurricane Preparedness event where we’ll talk about prepping for this hurricane season, share skills for mutual aid during disasters, and distribute mini hurricane prep kits. Did you know they have forecast as many as 27(!) hurricanes this Atlantic Hurricane Season!? We’re all in this together — Be ready and help your neighbors be ready.
  • If you want to volunteer at the Brake Light Clinic & Health Fair, sign up here: https://forms.gle/cAMSMxnffhF5CefJ8 (or show up day of). See you Saturday!
Are you ready for this Hurricane Season? The forecasts predict a bad hurricane season. How much do you need to stock up? How do you cook when the lights go out? How do you make sure you have water if the disaster outlasts your supplies? How do you treat minor wounds or avoid heat stroke? How do you safely operate a generator? What about your neighbors -- what do they need and what do they know how to do? 

Come out to the DSA New Orleans Solidarity and Hurricane Preparedness Event to talk about these questions and more... AND get a free mini prep kit to get you started! Saturday June 15th, 11am to 2pm in A.L. Davis Park.

Solidarity forever,

New Orleans DSA

New Orleans DSA ’24 Convention Hub

New Orleans DSA is a democratically-run, all-volunteer organization of the working class, and every year we convene to elect officers, consider amendments to our bylaws, and debate member-submitted proposals for the coming year. In short, Convention is our most important annual gathering! Members can weigh in on chapter priorities and fully exercise their power to shape Chapter work for the coming year and beyond. This year our Convention will be held June 29th at 12PM at the Broadmoor Community Church, 2021 S Dupre St. Don’t miss it!

Important Dates

Submit your bylaw amendments, political resolutions, and electoral endorsements to hello@dsaneworleans.org by June 25th. We also encourage members to post submitted or draft proposals to the #amendments-and-resos channel in slack for feedback and discussion.

Officer Elections

The following positions are up for election this year:

  • Co-Chairs (2): Wash F. & Jack RS.
  • At-Large Council Members (2): Bob M. & Emmanuel S.
  • Secretary: Madeleine H.
  • Membership Chair: Iman N.
  • Treasurer: Chris C.
  • Communications Chair: Taylor G.

Proposals & Bylaws Amendments

Below is a list of resolutions which will be debated and voted on at Convention (these require a 50%+ vote to be adopted). 

Resolution for Consistent Endorsed Candidate ExpectationsElectoral Working Group
Resolution to Endorse Devin Davis for Louisiana Congressional District 2Bob M., Jack R.S.
Resolution to Form a People’s PlatformBob M.

The following amendments to our Bylaws will be considered (these require a 2/3rds majority vote):

Amendment to Clean and Condense BylawsWash F, Jack RS, and Bob M
Amendment to Clarify Member Oversight and ConductWash F, Jack RS, and Cate R
Amendment to Advance Administrative DiscretionCate R, Jack RS, Wash F

We’ll continually update these lists as new proposals are submitted before the deadline on June 25th, so be sure to check back then to read everything we’ll be voting on this year.

Voting

Only members currently in good standing can vote on proposals and in Chapter elections, so make sure you’ve signed up to DSA before the start of Convention! If you’re unsure of your membership status, please visit proof.dsausa.org, or email us at membership@dsaneworleans.org.

Proxy Voting: If you are unable to attend either in-person or via Zoom, you may identify another member to serve as your proxy. This member then votes on proposals and in elections according to your preferences. Attending members may hold up to two proxies. If you will be requesting a proxy, please notify us at hello@dsaneworleans.org by June 27th with the name of another dues/paying member who will serve as your proxy. If you are unable to identify another member to name as your proxy, please let us know in a note to the above email address, and we’ll assign you a proxy to make sure your votes are cast.Proposals: Resolutions and Bylaw Amendments will be voted on at the Convention using OpenSlides in a browser on your phone or computer. You will receive a login from DSA New Orleans – OpenSlides with your login. For more information, here’s the member guide to OpenSlides.

DSA BBQ THIS SATURDAY and LOCAL COUNCIL NOMINATIONS DUE 5/30! 🌹

Happy start to the summer, comrades! To celebrate, this weekend’s general meeting will be a BBQ at the Lakeshore Park — read on for more info! 

SATURDAY, May 25th, 12-2pm — BBQ GM!: Join us this Saturday at Lakeshore Park (1626 Cloverleaf Rd) for good vibes, food, and conversation! Veggie options will be available and kids are welcome!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: DSA New Orleans Local Convention will be JUNE 29TH!

  • Our Local Convention is an annual meeting where our members vote on chapter leadership, amendments to our bylaws, and take up business related to the political direction of our chapter in the coming year. 
  • We will be holding a hybrid convention, in-person at Broadmoor Community Church (2021 S Dupre St) and on Zoom starting at 12PM NOON.
  • For the first time, we will be using OpenSlides to run the meeting. If you have any interest in assisting with tech, please reach out! No prior experience with OpenSlides required, just willingness to help out.
  • Join the convention-planning channel in Slack to help with planning, discuss bylaw change proposals, and organize cooking!

THURSDAY, MAY 30th — Local Council Nominations DUE!

  • Nominations for 2024-2025 chapter leadership should be emailed to hello@neworleansdsa.org by May 30th! Read more about these positions here. You may nominate as many members as you like, but no one may nominate themselves. If you have any questions or interest, reach out to any current LC member to chat more about it! 

OTHER REMINDERS: 

  • The Electoral Working Group is looking to recruit at least one candidate in the 2025 Fall election for municipal offices like City Council. Contact Bob M at 504-417-4121 or on Slack if you’re interested.
  • SIGN CEASEFIRE PETITION: If you have not already, sign the petition demanding City Council call for a ceasefire, stop all support of Israel, and condemn the murder of Tawfic Abdeljabbar. DM the Instagram or respond to this email if interested in getting more involved with this campaign. Follow @nola4palestine on Instagram if you haven’t already, subscribe to this constantly-updated calendar of actions and benefit events in the City, and check out NOSHIP’s fantastic site of resources, petitions, ways to help, and more.
  • Are you a member in good standing but not in our Slack? Email us so we can get you in!
  • Find other upcoming events on the calendar on our website!

Hope to see you this weekend!

Solidarity forever,

New Orleans DSA 🌹

Announcing the New Orleans DSA Spring 2024 Voter Guide!

The poor and working people of Louisiana are under attack. Since
taking office, Governor Landry and the Republican supermajorities in the
Legislature have enacted a reactionary criminal punishment regime. These
regressive measures will send more people to prison, keep them there
longer, fail to prevent new crime, provide no justice for victims, and take
millions of dollars from the people to funnel it into the hands of sheriffs,
district attorneys, and the private contractors in the prison industrial
complex.

Read the Complete Spring ’24 Voter Guide Here

TOMORROW: February General Meeting!

Hey comrades! 

Tomorrow is the most important holiday of February: General Meeting day! 

Join us at Nora Navra Library at noon for our monthly chapter-wide meeting, where we’ll discuss our organizing efforts and make collective decisions about the political work we are doing. These meetings are open to all. Prefer to meet online? Register here!

Check out the agenda here! We encourage you to read the resolutions in advance:

Hope to see y’all soon!

Solidarity forever,

New Orleans DSA Local Council

Palestine Solidarity CALLS TO ACTION and UPDATES!

While we celebrate this Carnival season, we must not forget that bombs we fund continue to decimate the land and people of Palestine undeterred. Israel has stated clearly their intentions to ethnically cleanse and occupy the whole of the Gaza Strip and are assaulting the southernmost refugee camp in Rafah, threatening the 1.5 million refugees packed into the 25 sq. mile camp already suffering from starvation, thirst, and infectious disease. Meanwhile, murders and illegal settling by Israelis (military and civilians alike) in the West Bank have dramatically accelerated and civilian groups supported by the IDF block humanitarian aid into Gaza, all with no repercussions.

Read on to learn ways you can help and learn more — none of us in Bulbancha are free until Palestinians are.

TODAY, LUNDI GRAS! KREWE OF CHICKPEA: Gather at 11am, rolls at 12pm

Palestinian-led Krewe of Chickpea brings together a solidarity procession focused on art, music, and culture. Costumes are encouraged to follow a dark blue color palette, with watermelon and orange symbols. Gather at 11am in the Marigny for a 12pm roll at Mandeville & Decatur; parade ends at Elysian Fields & Royal.

URGENT: NEW ORLEANIAN GRANDMOTHER KIDNAPPED BY IOF

Samaher Esmail, a Palestinian U.S. citizen raised in New Orleans, was kidnapped by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) on 2/5/24 in the town of Silwad, which is in the West Bank of Palestine. She has a history of illnesses and is without her medication. Read Masjid Omar’s statement here, sign the petition demanding immediate intervention from the Biden administration, and share this information far and wide. We must demand her immediate release and help bring her home!

Phone Numbers to call:

  • Senator Bill Cassidy: (202) 224-5824
  • Senator John Kennedy: (202) 224-4623
  • Representative Troy Carter: (202) 225-6636
  • State Department Number for US citizens abroad: (202) 647-1512

Script: Hi my name is [NAME] and my area code is [___]. I am calling regarding US citizen Samaher Esmail who was kidnapped by Israeli Defense Forces in the West Bank of Palestine on February 5, 2024. She is without her medication. I am calling for you as our representative to demand her immediate release and to bring her home.

CONTINUED FIGHT FOR JUSTICE FOR TAWFIC ABDELJABBAR

We must also continue to demand justice for the criminal and cruel slaying of Tawfic Abdeljabbar, the 17-year-old Gretna native murdered in the West Bank of Palestine. We must call on our elected officials to take a powerful stance demanding prosecution of his murder, in addition to fighting for the end of the violent occupation so his death (and those of tens of thousands of other Palestinians) is not in vain.

THE GULF COAST MARCH FOR PALESTINE — SUNDAY, February 18th, 11:30am: The Masjid Omar Community presents the Gulf Coast Rally & March for a Free Palestine in partnership with thirty organizations across the Gulf South (including the DSA chapters in New Orleans and Corpus Christi!)

It will feature incredible guest speakers such as Jenan Matari, writer & producer; Linda Sarsour, author & activist; Mohamad Habehh, Director of Community Outreach at American Muslims for Palestine; Nida Abu-Baer, artist & advocate for the Holy Land 5; Muhammad Sankari, organizer with the US Palestinian Community Network; Sherean Murad, local activist; and Reverend Gregory Manning, pastor and climate activist. There will also be a procession led by the Congo Square Preservation Society and NOLA Musicians for Palestine.

It begins at Armstrong Park — Let’s come out Sunday and show the world we will not be silent until there is an end to the occupation!

CALLS TO ACTION & OPPORTUNITIES TO HELP!!

[Rally/March] BEFORE SUNDAY:
-Banner design
-Banner painting
-Putting flyers up around the city

[Rally/March] SUNDAY:
-Security & marshaling (major need!)
-Post-rally cleanup (great opportunity for those attending the rally but unable to march!)-Holding banner
-Holding flag

OTHER OPPORTUNITIES
-Joining group writing & advocating for the City to pass a ceasefire resolution
-Join the musician or artist groups, Jewish Voice for Peace, NOSHIP, or the Interfaith group
-Aid in organizing the printing of pro-Palestine stickers and buttons
-Aid in organizing poli ed meeting for current and potential DSA endorsees
-Aid in making care packages for unhoused people to distribute to encampments in conjunction with Palestine events
-Participate in community-wide art builds
-Call your electeds about the kidnapping of Samaher Esmail, lack of justice for the murder of Tawfic Abdeljabbar, and demanding their support of a ceasefire.

GET CONNECTED by indicating your interests on this Google Formreplying to this email, or messaging us on social media!

News Updates & Educational Resources:

Questions or comments? Message us on social media or email us at hello@dsaneworleans.org!

Solidarity Forever,

New Orleans Local Council

New to DSA? Check out our chapter’s new member resources here. If you’ve got any questions about how to get involved or the work our chapter is doing, give us a shout at hello@dsaneworleans.org.

Not yet a member? The most important tool that the working class has is organization. We’re strong when we fight together. We have to build a durable, mass political organization to wield the kind of power we need to win real change in our society. If you aren’t a dues-paying member of DSA yet, join today!

Palestine Solidarity & Louisiana Democratic State Party Election Updates

Palestine Solidarity Updates:

At the January General Meeting last Saturday, we voted on two Palestine Solidarity Resolutions. These resolutions both passed unanimously, reaffirming New Orleans DSA’s commitment to Palestinian liberation, anti-racism, anti-colonialism, refusal to work with Zionist entities, and setting minimums for our endorsed candidates.

Resolution Regarding Endorsed DSA-LA Member Nithya Raman: First, our chapter’s membership unanimously voted to sign on to the “Open Letter to the NPC Regarding Nithya Raman.” Members who wish to add their names to the letter individually as well may do so here. Nithya Raman is a Los Angeles City Councilmember and endorsed member of DSA-LA. The unanimously passed resolution contains extensive documentation of Raman’s antagonistic actions toward Palestinian solidarity organizing efforts and other work that our comrades across the country are doing. Nithya Raman has demonstrated an unacceptable level of disrespect for our organization, liberation movements generally, and the very concept of dialogue and willingness to learn. Our chapter joins the call for comrades in DSA-LA to revoke Nithya Raman’s endorsement, and we call on the National Political Committee (NPC) to expel Nithya Raman from DSA. 

Anti-Zionist Resolution: Next, our chapter unanimously voted to pass the Resolution for an Anti-Zionist New Orleans DSA in Principle & Practice. We are most proud of our chapter membership for unanimously voting to stand on our anti-racist and anti-imperialist principles, and acting on the statement in our land acknowledgment, which commits us to “solidarity with the long and continuing battles of… peoples for liberation and justice.” 

Thank you to the members and guests who attended to contribute to this important discussion. We are especially grateful to the local Muslim Organizing Association and community member Hakm M., Ph.D. for attending on their behalf to support the Resolution. We share this message from Hakm:

Congratulations on taking a bold stand for justice by passing the anti-Zionist resolution. This victory echoes beyond resolutions; it resonates with the struggle for equality and dignity worldwide. The Palestinian community in the greater New Orleans salutes your courage in choosing the right side of history.

In motivating the Anti-Zionist Resolution, our co-chair Wash F. spoke of the many intersections between Palestine solidarity organizing and our other work: Police Abolition, Environmental Justice, Healthcare, Education, and fighting against the capitalist empire. For example, following the 2020 uprisings, our chapter passed a Resolution to Prioritize Organizing Towards Police Abolition – in the Deadly Exchange, US police train with the genocidal Israeli military. As for the environment, oil and gas corporations have turned our Gulf South region into a “sacrificial zone” and “cancer alley” –  Israel and the US have plans to exploit offshore gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean. The money that should be spent on public goods and services, healthcare, education, and housing for us in the US is instead given to military contractors and weapons manufacturers to bomb Yemen and Palestine. Our chapter recognizes DSA as an “organization of socialists fighting to weaken the power of corporations and the rich” – President Biden has been unabashed in his violation of democracy to protect trade and capitalist interests. Members who aren’t willing to fight capitalism and racism endanger the safety of our space and our reputation and vision.

New Orleanians who experienced Hurricane Katrina know well that imperialism always comes home. In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, mercenaries and military contractors descended upon our City. Meanwhile, the American media painted Black New Orleanians as “looters,” giving ample cover for racist police and vigilante gangs to hunt, brutalize, and murder them. The top contractors involved in bleeding Iraq sucked up $3.4 billion in construction contracts along the Gulf Coast. When a reporter asked private security contractors stationed outside the Royal St. Charles Hotel if things were getting pretty wild around the area, one of them replied, ‘Nope. It’s pretty Green Zone here.’” While Katrina left 400,000 New Orleanians homeless, thousands suffering squalid and crowded conditions in the Superdome and Convention Center, the wealthy residents of Audubon Place hired Israeli mercenaries. They specifically requested former operatives of Shin Bet — the Israeli internal security agency infamous for torturing and murdering Palestinian detainees. The Israeli mercenary and owner of the company contracted by these wealthy residents stated, “[m]y people were highly trained to operate in hostile environments. That fit well with the demand of the situation in New Orleans[.]” 

As residents in the heart of the empire, we have all been subjected to propaganda and had information withheld from us by our government, media, and educational institutions. None of us can be expected to come to this movement with perfect historical knowledge and critical analysis of all intersecting issues. However, we do have a duty to disabuse ourselves of the propaganda and ignorance that is inherent to residing within the empire. It is critical to our chapter work, to DSA, and to the movement that each one of us recognize and understand these connections between Palestine solidarity organizing and the issues that arise in other areas of movement work. We must stay curious, be continually willing to self-reflect, educate ourselves, have conversations with comrades, and listen to the members of marginalized and exploited communities. This is doubly important for our endorsed members and those holding political office as they purport to represent and lead the rest of us.

Murder of 17-year old Tawfic Abdeljabbar by Zionist forces on January 19th: Last week, we learned that Israeli occupiers murdered 17-year old Tawfic Abdeljabbar, a Palestinian member of our New Orleans community. As a member of Masjid Omar pointed out, Tawfic is not even the first teenager from New Orleans murdered with complete impunity by Israel. In 2014, Israeli forces murdered 14-year old New Orleanian Orwah Hammad. This Sunday, January 28th at 1pm meet at Masjid Omar, 1528 Pietro Ct. to Ride for Tawfic, a Memorial Motorcade in honor of Tawfic Abdeljabbar and all martyrs of Israel’s genocide. Please follow Masjid Omar and Nola4Palestine on Instagram for updates on this action.

Curious to learn more about Palestinian liberation?

  • We recommend starting with Decolonize Palestine, a collection of resources for organizers and anyone who wants to learn more about Palestine.
  • TOMORROW Saturday, January 27th, 1:00-4:00pm at Cafe Istanbul, JVP New Orleans, Patois, Channel Vivid and Nola Healthcare Workers for Palestine are hosting a special screening of “Israelism” + the short film ‘Roof Knocking.” The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the Palestinian and Jewish members of our community who are fighting together for a free Palestine. Get your tickets here! 

Louisiana Democratic State Party Election Updates:

Thanks to the current misleadership of the Louisiana Democratic Party, Louisiana now has a Republican governor and a veto-proof Republican supermajority in both chambers of the Louisiana legislature. The upcoming Democratic State Party elections are an opportunity to breathe new energy into the Louisiana Democratic Party. At our January General Meeting, our chapter officially recommended eight state-wide DSA members as candidates for the upcoming Louisiana Democratic State Central Committee (DSCC) elections in March, and six local chapter members as candidates for Democratic Parish Executive Committee (DPEC) races. Those candidates are:

Democratic State Central Committee:

  • Courtney Price (Baton Rouge DSA, 66A)
  • Davante Lewis (Baton Rouge DSA, 67B)
  • Jackson Voss (SWLA DSA, 31B)
  • James Jeane (Shreveport DSA, 5B)
  • Kai Macias (Shreveport DSA, 11A)
  • Ealom “Tucker” Allen (Shreveport DSA, 14B)
  • Bobby Woodruff (LA Tech YDSA, 11B)
  • Benjamin Eunice (LA Tech YDSA, 12B)

Democratic Parish Executive Committee:

In addition to these recommendations, our chapter will vote to endorse six of our chapter’s members for their respective DSCC races. A chapter endorsement requires a simple majority vote of at least 25% of our membership. You can review their responses in the candidate’s Q&A sessions in Drive for the video and notes. Chapter members, please check your email for an email from OpaVote.com titled “New Orleans DSA DSCC Endorsements” with instructions on how to vote. Abstentions help towards the 25% quorum requirement, so please submit your ballots before Tuesday, Jan 30th. Those candidates are:

The deadline to register as a democrat to vote for our comrades running for Louisiana State Democratic Party seats is March 2nd! (Register or Change your Registration Here!). Early voting begins March 9th: find early voting locations here. And Election Day is March 23rd: Check your ballot
We are also announcing — nominations are open for two new roles with the Electoral Working Group: Working Group Coordinator and Socialists in Office Liaison. These new roles will help support our continued efforts electings socialists into office & advocating for our vision of New Orleans and Louisiana. These positions are open to any members in good standing of the chapter, and individuals can nominate themselves. Descriptions can be found on the nominations application here.

Announcing New Orleans DSA’s 2023 Voter Guide!

Halloween comes early this year, with a veritable parade of ghouls and boogeymen crawling out from the shadows and swamps all across the great state of Louisiana plying voters with every manner of trick and very few treats ahead of Election Day, October 14th. But only a ghastly few will come to rule us mortals as our next batch of state elected officials. While we’re sure to see a fair number of creeps and weirdos lurking the rank halls of the state Capitol come inauguration day, this year our chapter has voted to endorse two candidates who promise to shine a light on the murky depths of Louisiana politics to cast out some of those creepy crawlies.

Read the full guide here!

New Orleans DSA ’23 Convention Hub

New Orleans DSA is a democratically-run, all-volunteer organization of the working class, and every year we convene to elect officers, consider amendments to our bylaws, and debate member-submitted proposals for the coming year. In short, Convention is our most important annual gathering! Members can weigh in on chapter priorities and fully exercise their power to shape Chapter work for the coming year and beyond. This year our Convention will be held June 24th at 12PM at the John Thomas Legacy Center, 1212 St Bernard Ave. Don’t miss it!

Important Dates

  • We’ll be having a pre-Convention tailgate following our General Meeting May 28th! If you’d like to meet current officers, ask questions about running for DSA positions or submitting proposals, or just hang out, please join us!
  • Submit your bylaw amendments, political resolutions, and electoral endorsements to hello@dsaneworleans.org by June 17th. We also encourage members to post submitted or draft proposals to the #amendments-and-resos channel in slack for feedback and discussion.
  • Submit nominations for Chapter leadership to  hello@dsaneworleans.org by June 10th. You may nominate as many members as you like, but no one may nominate themselves!
  • Convention will be held June 24th at 12PM! Convention will be a hybrid meeting, both in-person and online. For those attending online, we’ll post a link to register on Zoom closer to the event.

Officer Elections

The following positions are up for election this year:

  • Co-Chairs (2)
  • Secretary
  • Membership Chair
  • Treasurer
  • Treasurer Trustee (2)
  • At-Large Council Members (2)

Find more detailed information about all the roles we’ll be electing this year here!

Proposals & Bylaws Amendments

Below is a list of resolutions which will be debated and voted on at Convention (these require a 50%+ vote to be adopted). 

Resolution to Establish an Electoral Strategy for 2023-2025Electoral Working Group., Bob M.
Electoral Endorsements ResolutionJack R.S.
Re-Authorize the Make Entergy Pay CampaignJack R.S.
Prioritize Anti-AirBnB ActionJack R.S.
National Convention Delegate ExpensesJack R.S.

The following amendments to our Bylaws will be considered (these require a 2/3rds majority vote):

National Convention Funding Bylaw AmendmentJack R.S.
Amendment to Abolish Co-ChairsTrey D.
Amendment to Establish an Advisory CouncilTrey D.

We’ll continually update these lists as new proposals are submitted before the deadline on June 17th, so be sure to check back then to read everything we’ll be voting on this year.

Voting

Only members currently in good standing can vote on proposals and in Chapter elections, so make sure you’ve signed up to DSA before the start of Convention! If you’re unsure of your membership status, please visit proof.dsausa.org, or email us at membership@dsaneworleans.org.

Proxy Voting: If you are unable to attend either in-person or via Zoom, you may identify another member to serve as your proxy. This member then votes on proposals and in elections according to your preferences. Attending members may hold up to two proxies. If you will be requesting a proxy, please notify us at hello@dsaneworleans.org by June 23rd with the name of another dues/paying member who will serve as your proxy. If you are unable to identify another member to name as your proxy, please let us know in a note to the above email address, and we’ll assign you a proxy to make sure your votes are cast.

Officer Elections: As usual, we will be elections via software called OpaVote. You will receive your ballot via email when voting opens immediately following the in-person Convention, along with periodic reminders to vote throughout the week.

We have prepared some information about using OpaVote, as well an explainer about our vote counting method:

Proposals: Resolutions and Bylaw Amendments will be voted on at the Convention: in-person attendees may vote by raising a voting card you will receive during your check-in; virtual attendees may vote in the #voting channel of our Chapter Slack, as we do during virtual-only General Meetings.

Vote NO on April 29th

Sheriff Susan Hutson has quietly placed a question on this ballot that would expand OPSO’s current property tax millage from 2.8 mils to 5.5 for the next ten years boosting her annual budget by about $13 million. Hutson hasn’t offered a detailed description of her plans for the funding increase. She has called it a “compliance millage” which would imply that it is meant to help bring the jail into compliance with the dictates of federal oversight. But most of the money seems designated for staff raises and an, as yet, incomplete list of building improvements. As is often the case with the infamously opaque and unaccountable Sheriff’s department, voters are just expected to trust whoever holds the office. In that regard, Hutson hasn’t exactly inspired confidence.

For example, there was the $30,000 Hutson paid in consultation fees to “friend and valued partner” Kyshun Webster last year. This came immediately after Webster had been forced to resign a post as head of the Juvenile Justice Center amid multiple controversies involving abusive treatment of employees and neglect of his own duties as he devoted more of his time to his private insurance business. Previously, a federal audit found that Webster’s “mentoring and tutoring” non-profit had mishandled nearly $900,000 in grant funds back in 2012.  It’s unclear exactly what Hutson learned from Webster’s consulting stint. Apparently he invoiced her for his legwork picking out office space and cleaning equipment. One wonders, though, if Hutson’s illegal attempts to keep incidences of violence and abuse in the jail she is running under a veil of secrecy might also be chalked up to Webster’s “mentorship.”

During this past Carnival season, Hutson’s office was charged with coordinating the city’s last minute mad scramble to staff parade routes with supplemental police and sheriff’s deputies from around the state.  Law enforcement agencies have made it an annual routine to hold Mardi Gras hostage in order to shake down the city for money. This act has only grown more farcical in recent years and, this year, Hutson’s participation has drawn particular scrutiny. According to reports, the Sheriff booked 13 or 15 hotel rooms for what looks like as many as 11 days and nights during the Carnival season, ostensibly for her staff and deputies. No audit can show exactly who used the rooms, though. After the story became a public controversy, Hutson announced the $18,000 hotel bill would be covered through private donations. This only raises further ethical questions, however. So does an expenditure of over $15,000 on a “conflict coaching” consultant to deal with the understandable push back from dissenting advisors among her staff. That money was poorly spent also. Hutson went ahead and fired four of her top staff anyway. At least one of them is considering filing for whistleblower status.

The Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office is a great black hole through which public resources are sucked into a carceral system that can only produce corruption and violence. Sheriff Hutson campaigned on promises to “reform” the quagmire. But since she took office, the jail population has only expanded. And now she is asking us to grow its budget. In the 2021 municipal runoff elections edition of our voter guide, we recommended voting for Susan Hutson in 2021 as an opposition candidate to then-sitting Sheriff Marlin Gusman with the understanding that “the Chapter does not consider Hutson nor any other actual or potential law enforcement officer an ally, but considers Hutson an enemy we can more effectively oppose as we continue our work to abolish carceral policing.” We can only conclude that the millage funds would be utilized by Sheriff Hutson’s office to pursue aims counter to our own stated goal of abolishing the carceral police state as we know it. Therefore, we recommend voting NO on Sheriff Hutson’s proposal, as confirmed by a unanimous vote of our General Membership.