The Connecticut Democratic Party is considering to rename its annual fundraiser dinner because its namesake, U.S. Founding Father and 3rd President, Thomas Jefferson, owned slaves.
Since Dylann Roof’s mass shooting at a traditionally African-American church in South Carolina, states have taken down statues and renamed buildings that commemorate leaders from U.S. history that were linked to the Confederacy.
And now, CT Post reports, Connecticut is jumping on the bandwagon and extending the movement to all historic leaders who were in any way associated with slavery since the beginning of American history.
Connecticut Democratic Party chairman, Nick Balletto, has proposed to strike Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson from the title of the party’s 67-year-old annual fundraiser, the Jefferson Jackson Bailey (JJB) Dinner.
“Democrats are the party of inclusion,” Balletto said in a statement to The Daily Caller. “And in my opinion, the time has come to reevaluate the name of the JJB to reflect the diverse makeup and forward-looking vision of our party.”
The namesake of this fundraiser commemorates Jefferson and Jackson as the founders of the Democratic Party, and John Moran Bailey as the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and leader in Connecticut Democratic politics.
Among those in support of Balletto’s proposal, the Connecticut NAACP president, Scot X. Esdaile, who is pressuring Connecticut Democrats to reconsider honoring these figures in history.
“Democrats have a deeply rooted history with slavery,” Esdaile said to The Hartford Courant, “They need to do the right thing.”
The Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee will vote on whether or not to rename the event on July 22. And Balletto is optimistic about rallying members’ support.
“I believe that it is my job as party chair to lead on these issues,” Balletto said. “And I hope the Democratic State Central Committee will join me in advocating for what I believe is a much needed change.”
However, there is one predominant Connecticut Democrat who will not support Balletto, and is siding with President Jefferson on this one: U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro.
“I’m proud of Thomas Jefferson,” DeLauro told The Hartford Courant. “I think Thomas Jefferson is a founding father.”
The congresswoman explained that looking at Jefferson’s entire legacy, as opposed to one detail, paints a very different picture of the former president.
Jefferson may have owned slaves, DeLauro said, but you can’t forget that he was also a major advocate for legislation that would have abolished slavery.
Jefferson drafted numerous bills to regionally abolish slavery, protect former slaves after emancipation, as well as make it easier for slaves to be freed. He even attempted to use British and Portuguese export companies to transport emancipated Virginia slaves back to the west coast of Africa.
I applaud [him],” DeLauro continued, “I have great admiration for Thomas Jefferson.”
Disclosure: The author of this piece is the chairman of the Connecticut Federation of College Republicans and a journalism intern at The Daily Caller.