Daniel Lee may be newer to the ears of some of those inside city hall but he has quickly garnered endorsements from around the city and county. These include; Former Culver City Mayor Gary Silbiger, Former Santa Monica Mayor Mike Feinstein, Former School Board Member Nancy Goldberg, Former LA City Controller Rick Tuttle, Current School Board Member Kelly Kent, Current Civil Service Commisioner Darryl Cherness, Current Cultural Affairs Commissioner Len Dickter, the Culver City Democratic Club, the Los Angeles County Democratic Party and the list continues to grow.
Daniel Lee, a filmmaker, policy wonk, and grassroots activist has entered the electoral political fray. Culver City must be happy and proud that they have someone of Lee’s caliber willing to serve. As a 13 year resident, he is very familiar with the needs of the community.
Before even considering running for the Culver City council, Lee was busy doing his civic duty in Culver City and the surrounding communities. He has been a member of the Culver City Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee for the last 5 Years. He developed and implemented a Civil Rights Curriculum at the Culver Teen center to increase youth involvement and forge stronger connections between the committee and the community at large.
Daniel Lee has been a progressive activist in the realm of environment, media, political reform and foreclosure defense throughout Los Angeles County. He helped lead the successful campaign of Move to Amend Los Angeles to get the City of Los Angeles to become the first major city in the country to call for an amendment to the constitution that explicitly states that “corporations are not people” and that “money is not free speech.”
Lee’s accomplishments did not go unnoticed. He was asked to join Move to Amend
‘s national board. In his leadership capacity he travelled the entire nation educating, enlightening, and empowering Americans, not only on their constitutional rights, but on rights they must assert in our body politic — from local politics to national politics.
A few years ago I saw Daniel Lee at the Democracy Convention in Madison Wisconsin. He always had a full house for his sessions. When the questions and answers were complete it was immediately evident that he both commanded not only the topics of constitutional rights but the need to get Americans engaged in our body politic.
Lee has a B.A. in Cinematic Arts from the University of Southern California. He has complemented his social activism and political activism with a Masters degree in Social Welfare from UCLA. Lee is a veteran of the US Air Force and Air National Guard. There he learned and experienced the sacrifices of our enlisted and commissioned armed forces.
Daniel Lee leads by example based on a solid upbringing that made serving a part of his DNA. He grew up first in Alabama and then Florida. He had the best mentor one could ask for, a grandmother that taught directly and by example. He drove with her as she fed the hungry. He spent time with her as she visited jails and prisons to provide support for many from their communities.
Lee’s mother and grandmother ensured that the extended family were well read. It was important that they knew ‘the struggles of our past ancestors so that we would know where we truly stood and how we were valued by the world at large.’
Daniel Lee’s grandmother and mother, with their actions and teachings crystallized a sense of fairness in Lee’s mind. It informed Lee’s political identity as it developed through adolescence and into adulthood. He immediately understood that people were not entitled to resources and respect because they had earned nor deserved them, but instead simply because they were people.
Throughout the country there is a great excitement for a national candidate. Bernie Sanders has garnered the admiration, respect, and financial support from millions who love what he is saying. He speaks both to their hearts and to their needs. It is however very important that Americans remember an important fact. The politicians that have the most effect on our lives are our local servants, city council members, house representatives, etc.
Someone who moves from community activist/political activist/organizer with quantifiable successes deserves attention. Most importantly they deserve the community’s support. It is imperative that more grassroots activists make the leap into electoral politics. Only when seeds are allowed to sprout can real change be realized.
Steven Fisher is a member of the committee to Elect Daniel Wayne Lee