The 2009 Green Party Annual National Meeting in Durham, NC will begin on Thursday, July 23rd and continue through Sunday, July 26th. Featured events will include a forum on the need for a national single-payer health care system, and a speech from Cynthia McKinney on her efforts to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza. The Raleigh-Durham News has an article on the upcoming event, in which Green activists discuss the opportunities for Green growth in 2010:
DURHAM — N.C. Central is going green.
Beginning Thursday, the university will host the Green Party’s 2009 annual meeting. Around 100 delegates from 29 states — some from as far away as California and Texas — will descend on the Central campus.
Through Sunday, they’ll hear a speech from their 2008 presidential candidate, Cynthia McKinney, on her efforts to bring medical supplies to Gaza. They’ll discuss health-care reform. They’ll attend a series of workshops on a broad range of subjects, including candidate recruitment, democratizing the Electoral College and green economics.
Last year’s national meeting in Chicago drew around 500 delegates. This year’s meeting is in Durham because, “well, to be honest, the Green Party of North Carolina was the only state to make a proposal to host the meeting,” said Brent McMillan, the executive director of the national Green Party. “It was an easy decision to come to Durham.”
The proposal was the idea of local Green Party activist and delegate Theresa El-Amin.
“I thought it would be a good idea to have it here, particularly at a historically black school, and especially since North Carolina Central is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year,” she said. “Durham is a very special place, and I think it will be a good cultural experience to have the meeting here.”
Although it’s not an election-year meeting, McMillan said it’s an important conference nevertheless for the party.
“The main purpose of the meeting, I think, is to prepare for 2010, and focus on our messaging,” he said. “We see a lot of opportunity next year. Historically, the party in power when there’s double-digit unemployment — which we’re soon going to have — is always in trouble, and we think we can take advantage of that.”
McMillan thinks the party can benefit from what he called increasing disappointment with President Obama.
“I think there’s disillusion among many people with what he’s actually done and what they thought he was going to do,” he said, specifically pointing to escalation of the war in Afghanistan and failure to push for more substantive health-care reform.
Party officials also hope holding the meeting in the South will give the Greens traction in a place that has not always been welcoming to them.
“It’s hard in North Carolina to have independent parties,” said El-Amin. “North Carolina makes it very difficult to be registered here. But we really believe we are a growing movement, even here in the South.”
The first of the meeting’s two major events will be a forum on health-care reform and the need for a single-payer national program Friday afternoon from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. On Saturday at 3 p.m., McKinney will speak in the Miller-Morgan Building’s main auditorium.
Both events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://www.ncgreenparty.org/2009-ANM.html.