Lee, with Sara Innamorato—another young DSA member—are emblematic of the Democratic Party’s leftward shift. “Even in a time of intense political turmoil,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted, “the choice in these races—between an almost iconic old-school Pittsburgh name and an emerging progressive movement—could hardly be more striking.”
Lee calls for a moratorium on new prison construction and an end to mandatory minimum sentences and cash bail, which she calls “a barbaric relic of the past.” She’s also prioritizing the issue of economic inequality and wants to amend the state constitution to create an equitable tax system.
In Philadelphia July 2019, at the largest Netroots Nation conference to date, with 3,700 participants, the first day featured a panel discussing this very shift in dynamics. A session titled “Young Women of Color Winning Elections” highlighted four elected officials, all young women of color, who spoke to the role that racism and sexism played in their campaigns and the personal and systemic challenges they continue to face now that they hold public office.
Moderated by the political director of People for the American Way, Lizet Ocampo, the group of speakers featured: West Virginia House of Delegates member Sammi Brown of District 65, Phoenix Elementary School Board member Elora Diaz, Democratic State Rep. Summer Lee of Pennsylvania’s 34th District, and State Rep. Anna Eskamani of District 47 in Florida’s Orange County.
Each of the women addressed the need to challenge prevailing ideas about what a “politician” or a “winner” supposedly looks like. Eskamani, the first Iranian-American elected to the Florida legislature, asserted that there is a double standard women of color face when running for office. “[We are] often accused of identity politics,” she said, noting that there is power in being your authentic self. Eskamani advised activists and candidates to “never want to fit into a box,” especially when opponents are attempting to classify you as the “other.”
The Pittsburgh Democratic Socialists of America have chosen two candidates to endorse for the 2018 election cycle.
Summer Lee is running for Pennsylvania’s 34th Legislative District and Sara Innamorato is up for District 21. Both Lee and Innamorato were endorsed by Pittsburgh DSA, both identify as democratic socialists, and both are dues-paying members of the DSA.
Summer Lee is a graduate of Howard University School of Law and has been an organizer in the Woodland Hills School District area. She is a vocal opponent of armed police presence in schools and currently serves on the Woodland Hills Commission on Youth Development and Learning. She has advocated tirelessly for area juvenile and criminal justice reform, education funding, workers' rights, and creating decent jobs that pay a living wage.
Sara Innamorato is a graduate of Coro Pittsburgh's Center for Civic Leadership's Women in Leadership Program, and co-founder of She Runs, a nonprofit to encourage and empower women to run for government office. She is devoted to pursing healthcare for all, housing as a human right, and reforming Pennsylvania politics.
Free College Online Forum November 2017
DSA endorsements, 2018
Democratic Socialists of America April 26 at 9:51am .
DSA is proud to announce national endorsements for nine candidates who are running for local, state, and federal office!
- Kaniela Ing, U.S. Congress for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District
- Gayle McLaughlin, California Lieutenant Governor
- Summer Lee, Pennsylvania House of Representatives District 34
- Sara Innamorato, Pennsylvania House of Representatives District 21
- Kareem Kandil, Pennsylvania House of Representatives District 30
- Zellie Thomas, Paterson City Council New Jersey
- Brandy Brooks, Montgomery County Council Maryland
- Danielle Meitiv, Montgomery County Council Maryland
- Chris Wilhelm, Montgomery County Council Maryland
Summer Lee January 6, 2018.
Braving the cold...
- Summer2018 — with Nan Alexander Dowiak, Julie Platt, Summer Lee, David Ankin, Kacy McGill, Jamin Bogi, Jonathan Reyes, Daniel Ezra Moraff, Symone Miquela and Louis Berry III.
Moraff was Summer Lee's campaign manager.
Swissvale Community Action Committee
Summer Lee, December 20, 2017.
We are Swissvale.