Who am I?
Daraka Larimore-Hall grew up in Santa Barbara, where he first got involved in activism as a high school student opposing the first Gulf War. His mother, Jolene Larimore, is a public defense attorney from an active Democratic family in rural Illinois. Tony Hall, Daraka’s father, is a Los-Angeles based activist and lawyer who emigrated from Jamaica. This background helped shape Daraka’s strong values and commitment to social justice, and some of his earliest family memories are from anti-Apartheid and nuclear disarmament protests.
Since graduating with honors from the University of Chicago in 1999, Daraka has worked as a political organizer on electoral and issue-based campaigns throughout the United States and Europe. From 2003 until 2011, he was an activist and officer in UAW Local 2865, the union for Teaching Assistants at the University of California. He is currently finishing a PhD in Sociology at University of California, Santa Barbara.
For the past seven years, Daraka has been chair of the Democratic Party of Santa Barbara County. He has served as Vice President of the Tri-Counties Central Labor Council, and is currently Vice Chair of the California Democratic Party Labor Caucus. In 2010, he was appointed to the CDP’s Resolutions Committee.
Why am I running?
Democrats in California have had a lot to celebrate lately. We made history last November, and have created opportunities for long-term progressive change in our State.
We did it by working together. Everybody pulled their weight: grassroots activists, union members, students, issue-oriented activists, along with the leadership in the CDP and the Legislature. We have to keep that cooperation going at every level if we want to hold on to the initiative, keep winning elections and make those victories matter.
I’m running for Secretary of the California Democratic Party because I want to help institutionalize what we’ve built together. In part that’s about revitalizing the role of the Party Secretary and putting more attention and resources into how we communicate, coordinate and plan together. Most of all, it’s about making sure that party leaders at all levels are accessible and accountable, starting with me.
I’ve had the honor of serving as Party Chair in Santa Barbara County for the past seven years. Just like activists around the state, we’ve built a volunteer-driven, grassroots electoral program that works closely with our endorsed candidates. I’m just as proud of the work we do in between elections: registering voters, keeping our clubs active and vibrant and standing up in our communities on important issues. That is the work that builds a base strong enough to win elections, effect change in the community, and hold our officials accountable. We do that in the bluest parts of our County, and in the reddest.
Together, we can build that kind of Democratic Party in every corner of our State. We’ll be electing Party officers at the Convention in April. If you are a delegate, I would appreciate your vote.
1. The core responsibilities of the Secretary are to keep records and aid internal communication. I think that this should be expanded to include working with CDP staff to increase the amount of resources available to activists at all levels of the Party. This ranges from compiling graphic design elements for grassroots leaders to use in print or online, to helping local leaders use the MOE to track, connect and keep in touch with volunteers in between big elections.
2. To inform more long-term thinking, I would like to spend the first year of my term collecting ideas and best practices for regional cooperation between Central Committees, clubs, campaigns and community organizations. There are no off years in California politics, but there is a lot we can learn from what happens at the local level in local races.
My DFA Values
One of the things about DFA that I appreciate is that it organizes people who want to make a Democratic Party that is committed to core values and principles. I got involved in Party activism along with the Howard Dean campaign, and this was what I liked about his approach to politics. Here's what "Community, Security and Liberty" mean to me in relation to core Democratic values:
Community is an important value to emphasize right now. Politics in America has become vicious, not only in tone, but in substance. The Democratic Party should stand up for the value of shared interests- in tax policy, immigration policy, education policy and government in general. At the end of the day, it is this principle that sets us most apart from our opponents. It is what makes it meaningful for someone to vote for our candidates over the other guys. We have to stand by and argue in favor of community, even when it is unpopular. I am committed to ensuring that this is always a role that the Democratic Party plays.
Security isn't only about keeping everyone physically safe from harm. Communities with good jobs, health care, elder care and environmental protection are secure communities. As a grassroots organization, the Democratic Party should be active in fighting for communities that are secure on all these levels.
Liberty is a crucial American value, and one that I think has recently been co-opted and mangled by the radical right in an unfortunate way. I think that as Democrats, when we fight for a more just and equal society, we look forward to a day where all people have individual agency and everyone's voice is heard in their democracy. This is what liberty means to me.
My Campaign is People Powered!
My campaign is led by volunteer grassroots Democratic activists all over the State of California. Our success will be owed to individual delegates and activists spreading the word among other delegates in their communities. We have an active web presence and are connecting with delegates in person, on the phone, and online.