Liz OLeary

Chair, DA South Africa

I joined DASA when it was established to support President Obama’s 2008 election. I wanted to be part of that historic election, so clearly founded on hope and the prospect of great change. In 2020 when I got involved as a leader, it was because I felt I had to; I felt an overwhelming responsibility to play my part. I know many felt the same. We all came together, channelling our energy (and our anger) to protect our democracy and push our country forward. We voted, we celebrated and now our team in the White House and Democrats across many parts of the country are working hard to deliver. As a Member at Large in the previous term I led our Voter Mobilisation, Member Engagement and Communications efforts and as Chair I look forward to expanding our reach, developing engagement and gearing up for the 2024 elections.

My own lesson in democracy these past years has been that WE are democracy, what happens depends on each and every voter – our ballots, but also our ongoing engagement and activism.

There is great progress but also regress! There are bills, court decisions, executive orders, appointments, and elections across the country that threaten civil rights and people’s wellbeing. Lives are literally at stake. 

Originally from Connecticut, I've lived in South Africa since 1995. For many years I led a Non Profit that advocated for and supported transformation in housing and construction. In recent years I've been focusing on Antiracism, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in schools.

Social justice, and racial justice in particular, are what drive me and I hope we can create stronger solidarity, coming together again with hope - as well as that sense of responsibility - to fight for our country and each other. In one of our newsletters I made a list of reasons to vote – it got long!...Let’s do our part!   

"Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public" - Dr Cornel West