Author and feminist activist Gloria Steinem is backing Keith Ellison in the race for chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Steinem cited Ellison’s “proven record of organizing on the ground in Minnesota.”
“His understanding that issues like a living wage and universal health care should be national goals — and his support for the ideas and energy of the Women’s Marches around the world — make clear that he can and will lead the Democratic Party to a principled and populist victory,” she said in a statement. “As both a strong advocate for feminism and a Muslim, he knows that, as Hillary Clinton said, ‘human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights.’ He is ready to overcome the dangers presented by Donald Trump, to inspire and mobilize the grassroots, and to elect Democrats across the country.”
The Democrats’ electoral drubbing last year has put increased emphasis on the race for DNC chair, in which Ellison, a congressman from Minnesota, is running against former Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and a half dozen other candidates. The vote will take place on Feb. 25 in Atlanta, in what could be a pivotal moment for the future direction of the party.
Ellison has garnered endorsements from such figures as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), while Perez last week got the endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden.
Steinem said that Democrats have an “embarrassment of riches” among candidates to lead the party.
“When I began to volunteer in electoral politics, the Republican Party was proud to be the first to support the Equal Rights Amendment, and the Democratic Party was proud to have passed the Civil Rights Act. Our first feminist electoral effort — the National Women’s Political Caucus — was bipartisan,” she said in her statement. “Now, however, we have a President who rose up not through either Party or any elected office, but through a sealed tube of inherited money and fact-free ‘reality’ TV. As a result, we all have an obligation to fight back and to reach such majority goals as eliminating racist and sexist violence, and diminishing economic polarization and global warming.”