Finklea Green is sworn in by Clerk of Court Mahasin El-Amin (D). (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)
Finklea Green is sworn in by Clerk of Court Mahasin El-Amin (D). (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)

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On March 21, new officers were appointed to lead the South County Democratic Club (SCDC) at the Forest Heights Municipal Center.

Forest Heights Council member Troy Barrington Lilly (D) is sworn in as vice president, succeeding community advocate Tamara Davis Brown. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)
Forest Heights Council member Troy Barrington Lilly (D) is sworn in as vice president, succeeding community advocate Tamara Davis Brown. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)

With Clerk of Court Mahasin El-Amin presiding, Courtney Finklea Green was sworn in as president, Forest Heights Council member Troy Barrington Lilly as vice president, Helen Bearden as corresponding secretary and Mary McIver as recording secretary. Mirinda Jackson will continue serving as club treasurer and Laverne Poteat Scott will continue serving as parliamentarian.

“It is a new day for the South County Democratic Club and we are on the move,” Finklea Green said following her swearing-in.  

Acknowledging the sizable crowd as he began his speech, Lilly thanked first-term Delegate Jamila Woods for her years in service to the Forest Heights area. After acknowledging the present elected leaders, the event was cut short when an audience member suffered a health emergency. Responders were quickly called and the meeting was promptly ended. 

Former Board of Education Chair and Delegate Juanita Miller and longtime community advocate Tamara Davis Brown previously served as President and Vice President respectively and are longtime members of SCDC. One of Davis Brown’s biggest accomplishments in club leadership was expanding the club. 

“We coalesced all of the South County clubs,” she said. “We had Surrats/Clinton, the club I was president of. We combined them with the Fort Washington, Brandywine, Accokeek and Oxon Hill clubs under one club to bring the people’s power together and give South County one voice.”

The swearing-in drew a countywide crowd of young leaders and retired politicians, particularly strong for a Tuesday night.  

Maryland Democratic Party Vice Chair Everett Browning, County Council member Wala Blegay (D- District 6) and Central Committee Chair Kent Roberson (D- District 25) all served as keynote speakers. 

Sen. Joanne Benson (D- District 24), retired District 26 Senators Gloria Lawlah (D) and Obie Patterson (D), District 26 Delegate Jamila Woods (D), Cheverly Council member Marverly Nettles Simpson (D), Greenbelt Council member Ric Gordon (D), and Central Committee members Antwan Brown (D- District 26) and Yolanda Quintinilla (D- District 47) were on hand for the ceremony alongside a crowd of nearly 100. 

Brown will be serving as Chair of Community Engagement. Deo Kawunde will be serving as Chair of Membership, Todd Hughes will be Chair of Business and Entrepreneurship and LaVerne Poteat Scott will be Club Parliamentarian. 

What is South County and SCDC?

The South County can be described as the areas south of and adjoining Route 414, including Fort Washington, Accokeek, Aquasco and Brandywine. State legislative Districts 25, 26 and 27 and Council Districts 7, 8, and 9 include portions of South County. Relative to population, the South County has a larger proportion of votes than the north or central county in the Democratic primary while some residents have criticized a lack of attention on their issues such as air quality, slow commercial development and transportation.

Monique Anderson-Walker, who previously represented this area on the County Council, attended and was given wide applause when introduced. She said, “It’s critical for everyone to have a voice. South County has a huge population and in many ways is the economic engine of the county. Voices from the south county need to be heard. Leadership is critical and engagement is necessary. We will continue to have our voices heard and engage with the citizens.”

When asked of the future of the club, Tamara Davis Brown said “We started local high school Democratic clubs, particularly at Gwynn Park and Friendly high school to get the next generation involved. That’s why tonight is so important for me, so we can build younger and new leadership. I’m proud to see Courtney and Troy step up to be the next leaders in the Democratic Party.” 

“‘With the new day comes new strengths and new thoughts,’” said Finklea Green, quoting Eleanor Roosevelt.

Prince George’s County Young Democrats Vice President Januari McKay was one of numerous young leaders on hand for the ceremony. 

“We must make it a priority to include and engage the young people who will be leading our country and our party if we want to continue making progress,” said McKay. “Young people have what it takes to lead — the energy, the solutions, and the tenacity. It’s the responsibility of the clubs to foster relationships and invest in young people so that we create a pipeline of leaders who are equipped to lead and serve.”

Growing SCDC

Council member Ric Gordon (D) is in the leadership of the Greenbelt-based Roosevelt Democratic Club. He wants his club to partner with the SCDC.

“I see it many different ways. Through how we grow the clubs,” Gordon said. “Now that you have new leadership like Courtney, we can bounce ideas off each other on how to grow our clubs and the local Democratic Party.” 

Finklea Green plans to continue the work of past leadership in growing the club, one Democrat at a time. 

The stated goals of the SCDC are to encourage active participation in the Democratic Party and Process, interact with various community-based groups, communities and businesses, conduct education events and seminars for greater political awareness, and provide speakers concerning ongoing political and government issues. The yearly membership fee is $15. 

“Fanny Lou Hamer once said, ‘There is one thing you have got to learn about our movement. Three people are better than no people.’  Hamer proved that a movement can start with a few and can yield great change. Democrats must work together to show up and show out at the polls. Remember, your vote is your currency. It is your power. Use it,” said Finklea Green. 

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