07.30.01 - Images from the press conference in Santa Monica announcing the birth of the Green Party of the United States. 
Photo Credits: Tony Affigne, Green Party of Rhode Island

Kevin McKeown, Green Party member of the Santa Monica City Council, sits at left. McKeown announced the Council's passage of the nation's first-ever private-sector living wage law, more than doubling minimum  wage for the city's thousands of tourism and hospitality workers.

Other Green Party speakers included (left to right) Nancy Pearlman, recently elected to the Los Angeles Community College board; congressional candidate Donna Warren, from South Central Los Angeles; Santa Monica's mayor, Michael Feinstein; Jo Chamberlain (California), newly-elected member of the party's national Steering Committee; and Tom Adkins, director of the Campus Greens. Other speakers (not pictured) included U.S. Senate candidate Medea Benjamin; John Strawn (Santa Barbara), California delegate to the national coordinating committee; Jacqueline Argüelles, of the Partido Verde Ecologista de Mexico, elected in 2000 to the federal Chamber of Deputies; and Tamara Muruetagoiena, cultural affairs adviser to Greens in the European Parliament. 

More than a dozen news organizations including the Associated Press, NBC, CNN, Fox News, and C-SPAN, as well as reporters from Los  Angeles-area radio stations and newspapers, attended the Green Party's Santa Monica press conference on July 30, 2001, where formation of the national Green Party of the United States was announced. Jo Chamberlain, elected to the party's six-person national Steering Committee, is seated (center). Outgoing party co-chair Anne Goeke stands (left).

Anita Ríos, of Toledo, Ohio was elected to the Green Party's six-person Steering Committee on July 29, 2001. Anita is one of eight children and her family has for many years supported the efforts of FLOC, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee.

Anita is a former mental health case manager and union delegate for SEIU/1199. Anita was on SEIU/1199's executive board for Ohio, and represented them on the regional labor council of the AFL-CIO.

"My activism stems from having been raised in poverty and having experienced the inequities in our society that face poor people and people of color. I feel it is time to stop accepting the political status quo which fails to offer real solutions, and instead offers sound bites. Our present political system fails to advocate for the needs of the people. Both Democrats and Republicans have been sold to the highest bidder."

Ríos joins Tom Sevigny (Connecticut), Jo Chamberlain (California), and Ben Manski (Wisconsin) as co-chairs of the national committee; Nathalie Paravicini and Robert Franklin, both of Texas, were elected Secretary and Treasurer, respectively.

Jacqueline Argüelles was elected last year to the Mexican government's Chamber of Deputies, for the Partido Verde Ecologista de Mexico (PVEM). Representing Mexican Green Party president Jorge Gonzalez Torres, and its international coordinator Natalia Escudero Barrera, Dep. Argüelles brought PVEM's formal congratulations to the founders of the Green Party of the United States.

Donna Warren, the Green Party's June 2001 candidate for Congress from the 32nd Congressional District, calls for adoption of Green policies in urban communities. Warren is a longtime activist in South Central Los Angeles who, with Black Panther Deacon Alexander, co-founded the South Central Green Party.

Green Mayor of Santa Monica, CA., Mike Feinstein.  Mike and fellow Green Santa Monica Councilmember Kevin McKeown,  recently passed a groundbreaking living wage ordinance. The first living wage ordinance in the country to apply to the private sector, the law raises wages to $10.50 an hour and provides benefits to some 2,000 low-wage workers. 

Medea Benjamin, nationally-known free trade and energy activist, and a former Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate, called for a national policy mandating clean, affordable, and publicly owned energy. Jo Chamberlain (California), of the party's six-person national Steering Committee, listens.

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