- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Connecticut Democratic Party is scrubbing the names of Democratic presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson from its annual fundraising dinner amid increased pressure from the NAACP’s state chapter following last month’s Charleston church shootings.

Party leaders voted unanimously Wednesday night to rename the Jefferson Jackson Bailey dinner because of the former presidents’ ownership of slaves, the Connecticut Post reported.

“I see it as the right thing to do,” Chairman Nick Balletto told the paper Wednesday night. “I wasn’t looking to be a trailblazer or set off a trend that’s going to affect the rest of the country. Hopefully, they’ll follow suit when they see it’s the right thing to do.”

“You can’t change history, but you don’t have to honor it,” he added.

In part, the resolution said, “As members of the Democratic Party, we are proud of our history as the party of inclusion. Democrats have led the way on civil rights, LGBT equality and equal rights for women. … It is only fitting that the name of the party’s most visible annual event reflects our dedication to diversity and forward-looking vision.”

Scot X. Esdaile, the head of Connecticut’s NAACP, cheered the decision.

“I would applaud the current leaders in Connecticut in making the symbolic first step and striving to right the wrongs of the past,” he said. “You can’t right all the wrongs, but I think it’s a symbolic gesture of our support for their party.”

A new name for the event will be chosen in the fall, the Connecticut Post reported.

The event’s third namesake, John Bailey, a Democratic Party leader under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, will likely remain, the paper reported.

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