State News Release - June 14, 2000

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Green Party of Colorado




Friday, June 14, 2000

Nancy Allen, Media Coordinator,
207-326-4576, nallen@acadia.net
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator,
202-518-5624, scottmclarty@yahoo.com


DENVER, COLORADO -- "Lavender Greens" will meet on the eve of the June 24-25 National Green Nominating Convention in Denver, Colorado. A Lavender Green reception is planned for Friday, June 23 to welcome Green Party activists who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and other sexual minorities to Denver.

Ann Northrop, a featured speaker before the Green Convention on Saturday, June 24, will be the guest of honor at the reception. Ms. Northrop is a longtime lesbian activist and journalist, prominent in Lesbian Avengers and ACT UP. A former journalist with CBS News and Good Morning America who currently writes for the New York paper LGNY and co-hosts the weekly cable show "Gay USA," she ran for Vice President of the United States on the AIDS Cure Party ticket in 1996 and now serves as Vice President of the board of directors at the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies, a research think tank, and sits on the board of the New York City Medical Marijuana Buyers Club.

The list of speakers at the convention, which is being organized by the Association of State Green Parties, also includes political commentator Jim HightowerTony Mazzocchi of the Labor PartyManning Marable, history professor and a director of the Institute for African American Studies; and Helen Caldicott, physician and anti-nuclear activist. The Lavender Green reception is being arranged by Colorado Green Daniel Stephen, a historian and former school teacher who organized the LGBT caucus of the American Federation of TeachersStarlene Rankin, a Green media activist/artist from Lawrence, Massachusetts, and Secretary of Green Party USA, will be the hostess.

Ms. Rankin said, "Queer Greens are ready to play a strong role in this year’s elections. I want the Green Party Presidential and VP candidates chosen on June 25 to know that myself and many other Lavender Greens are willing to work hard to bring Green Party values and policies to our LGBT communities around the country. The Lavender Greens can bring in Green Party votes, as well as many new Green activists!"

The event underscores the wide range of issues embraced by the Greens. The Green platform has long included demands for same-sex marriage and civil union rights, anti-bias protections (including an end to the military exclusion), an end to sodomy laws and other repressive statutes, as well as abortion rights, medical marijuana, needle exchange, national health coverage, low-cost AIDS and other drugs here and abroad, and other issues of concern to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) people. Green Party USA has an active LGBT Caucus.

Green Presidential candidate Jello Biafra, a musician and activist for free expression, will also address the reception. Candidates Biafra, Steve Gaskin, and Ralph Nader have all expressed strong support for these issues. Mr. Nader, the frontrunner, declared his support, on NBC’s Meet the Press (May 7) and in the May issue of Poz Magazine, for Vermont’s decision on civil unions between same-sex couples.

Mr. Nader condemned the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 bill signed by President Clinton which set back the movement for same-sex unions, in an interview published in Bay Windows(May 15). In the same interview, Mr. Nader discussed corporate infiltration of liberal, including gay, organizations. Corporations "try to put their logos on [civil-rights and other movements]. Earth Day is an example…. We must not let corporations contaminate everything."

Ralph Nader played a major role in the effort to reverse the Clinton Administration’s threats against nonwhite developing nations, on behalf of the US pharmaceutical lobby, with economic sanctions for providing low-cost drugs to ailing HIV-infected populations. In 1999, protests by AIDS activists, including many Greens, at Al Gore campaign stops and criticism by Mr. Nader compelled US Trade Representatives to relax the threats against South Africa -- Gore, in negotiations, had communicated the policy himself. The threats currently remain in place against many other developing nations for using the same methods of low-cost distribution which white European and North American countries employ without objection from Clinton and Gore.

In 1996, Mr. Nader limited his campaign to a discussion of corporate power, the resulting corruption of the American political process, and the need for civic activism, avoiding many social issues, which led to criticism by progressives, including many Greens. Activists have been pleased this year with his willingness to address a broad range of topics, and hope that Nader’s run will undercut the support from gay progressives usually taken for granted by Democratic candidates. Dan Stephen, expressing the frustration of many activists over the Democratic betrayals, said, "Clinton sold out lesbians and gays with his ‘don't ask, don’t tell’ policy, and caved in to the homophobes when he signed the ‘Defense of Marriage Act.’ Gore is just warmed-over Clinton. Why should gays vote for him?"

Ms. Northrop and Lavender Greens from across the US will be welcomed by Elver Barker and student members of WAAKE-UP! (World Action and Awareness Coalition of Equal and United Progressives). Mr. Barker, eighty years old this year, is a popular elder spokesperson in the Colorado LGBT community. He first participated in non-violent direct action in 1942 on behalf of the Congress Of Racial Equality while a student at Denver University. He became active in the gay liberation movement in the 1950s, founding Colorado’s first gay liberation group, the Denver chapter of the Mattachine Society, in 1956. Mr. Barker embraced the larger progressive movement against global corporate power after attending a workshop given by Colorado University members of WAAKE-UP! at Denver’s Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Community Services Center of Colorado.

WAAKE-UP! students will talk about anti-sweatshop and anti-corporate direct action politics at the Lavender Green reception. In April WAAKE-UP! illegally erected and occupied a plywood "shantytown" on the Colorado University campus to draw attention to living conditions in countries where shoe corporation Nike subcontracts. WAAKE-UP! helped lead a major rally and demonstration at Boulder's Pearl Street Mall on April 15 to show support for the demonstrations in Washington, DC against the World Bank and IMF.

More information:

  • National Green convention: http://www.greens.org/colorado/convention.html (Nancy Harvey, Convention Office Manager, 303-554-1575)
  • Association of State Green Parties: http://www.greenparties.org
  • Greens/Green Party USA: http://www.greenparty.org/
  • WAAKE-UP!: http://ucsu.colorado.edu/~esn/waakeup.html/



State News Release - June 14, 2000

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