Former teacher’s political activism has hit the big time: She’s a delegate to this year’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC
One might say that Jeannie Washington has been prepping for her role as a Democratic National Committee delegate all her life. Washington, who still lives in the North Hollywood area where she grew up, is one of those unsung political activists whose extracurricular lives have been devoted to bettering the lives of Black folk. The DNC convention is this weekend.
She says that the foundation for her political involvement was her parents. Her mother was very active in both the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) and her church, Greater Community Missionary Baptist Church in Pacoima, where her mother was one of the “mothers of the church,” serving her community as a deaconess and missionary for several years.
Her father’s experiences also contributed to her political leanings. Mr. Washington, the father of five girls and one boy, was the first African American metal polisher in the San Fernando Valley at a time in the ‘40s when he endured and overcame racism in his daily dealings in that community.
At North Hollywood High School, where she was active in the Black Student Union (BSU), as well as at San Fernando Valley State College (now California State University at Northridge), and a master’s degree in counseling and guidance, her political activism matured.
She embarked on a career in education, where, for the last 19 of her 43 years (she retired last year), she taught history at Washington Preparatory High School. It was during those years that U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters co-founded the Black Women’s Forum, and Washington became an integral member of Team Maxine, most significantly serving on and chairing the Educational Task Force.
And much like Waters, when she decided it was time to step up her political agenda, she campaigned vigorously in her community in what was a new district, District 29 —and won. It was no surprise that she was the top vote- getter.
She’ll be accompanied to Charlotte by her niece, Dawn Butler, whose political activism is in the field of law. Washington, asked what issues she’s most passionate about taking to the convention, responds “education, women’s rights, restoring voting rights … and maintaining Obamacare.”
Yes, Jeannie Washington’s parents would be proud that the seeds of political activism they planted in their third daughter have blossomed into a DNC delegate dedicated to ensuring that President Barack Obama is reelected.