Green Party of Colorado
|"D.C. TO DENVER 2000 FREEDOM RIDE"|
"D.C. TO DENVER 2000 FREEDOM RIDE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A national Green tour leaves DC on June 19, heads to the Green Convention, stopping at cities and towns across America
DENVER, COLORADO – A caravan of vans, titled "The D.C. to Denver 2000 Freedom Ride," will bring Greens, Green Party state delegates, and their friends from many states to the Green National Nominating Convention, which will take place at the Renaissance Hotel in Denver, Colorado on Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25. Greens at the convention, which is being organized by the Association of State Green Parties, will chose a presidential candidate; Jello Biafra, Steve Gaskin, and Ralph Nader are seeking the nomination.
The Freedom Ride will leave from a rally at the Frederick Douglass Home in Washington, DC on Monday, June 19 and thread through Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, with many stops in and between these cities, and arrive in Denver on Friday morning, June 23.
About two dozen people from the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Maine will join the Ride. Members of the Alliance for Democracy / Democracy Brigades, Refuse and Resist, and other organizations will join Greens from all these states. Among the Freedom Riders will be US Senate candidate Tom Burrell (G-TN), who is also national spokesperson of the Black Farmers & Agriculturists Association and his wife Kay Burrell.
A Green itinerary
The Freedom Ride is the inspiration of Gail Dixon, At-Large Member of the DC Board of Education and activist in the DC Statehood Green Party, who will address the convention on Sunday, June 25. Ms. Dixon initially envisioned the Ride, which recalls the civil rights Freedom Rides of the 1960s, as a forum to raise national awareness of the movement for democracy and self-determination in the District of Columbia. But the Ride quickly grew into a mission "to complete the unfinished business of the civil rights movement"; to show Green "solidarity among different kinds of oppressed communities across the country," and to "unite communities for economic, environmental and social justice."
In DC, the issue is freedom from two centuries under the rule of Congress and the White House, which oversee all of the District’s finances and legislation, and the lack of voting representation in Congress. Activists for DC statehood, enraged by the District’s widespread poverty, crumbling schools, and lack of health care -- and Congress’s veto of a voters’ ballot initiative in 1998 -- have compared the treatment of the African-American majority population to that of an 18th century British colony and to an antebellum plantation.
In East Liverpool, Ohio, on June 19 and 20, Freedom Riders will meet school officials and residents who fought against the construction of an incinerator next to a school in a working class and poor Appalachian and African American neighborhood. In 1992, Vice Presidential candidate Al Gore promised to block the incinerator, but after his election, Waste Technologies, Inc.’s campaign contributions paid off and the incinerator went up.
In Cincinnati, Freedom Riders will hold a candlelight vigil with the families of victims of human radiation testing, and meet with local gay and lesbian activists on June 20 in a reception hosted byPink Paradigm. Activists in Cincinnati lost a city council vote and a vicious referendum over laws against discrimination during the 1990s; an Ohio state court ruled that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people deserved no legal protections.
On June 22, Freedom Riders will meet with Leonard Peltier Defense Committee representatives in Kansas City and Leavenworth. Mr. Peltier is an American Indian activist many believe wrongly imprisoned for the killing of FBI officers, even after revelations of new evidence and testimony that would exonerate him.
Riders will also meet union activists, members of the Alliance for Democracy, and other Greens throughout the Freedom Ride route.
Greens and the Green agenda: all colors and stripes
The Freedom Ride shows how the Green Party’s growth as a national political force has paralleled increasing Green involvement in the concerns of all Americans, especially those left out of Clinton-era prosperity and those still denied rights and freedoms.
To much of the public, Greens have long been associated solely with environmentalism. But if recent national and local Green campaigns prove this is no longer true, the people and issues to be encountered along the Freedom Ride demonstrate how closely corporate power, military spending, poverty, health, labor, education, racism, human rights and democracy, and all other concerns are tied to the health of the earth.
Manning Marable, prominent scholar on African American studies and newspaper columnist who will speak at the convention in Denver, noted in a Colorado Daily interview (June 12, 2000) the extent to which "issues of the environment are directly connected with questions of poverty, racism, and economic inequality.… The Greens, the environmentalists, through the 80s did not do enough to speak substantively to the connections between environmental justice and racial justice. Now, in the 1990s and 2000, they have begun to do so."
Mr. Marable also mentioned "several notable successes of African American candidates being elected this past year on the Green ticket across the country. And as those successes multiply, then the Green alternative will become more real to black and Latino voters…. The Democrats have taken a view that majority of Americans really don’t want to talk about issues of racial injustice. But I think that’s a mistake.… The vast majority of Latinos and African Americans don’t vote… in part because they don’t feel that there are viable alternatives for them. There’s a huge hole in the electorate, and it’s begging to be filled by a progressive agenda and progressive voices. The Greens, I think, have a potential to speak to that hole."