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Baltimore Green mayoral candidate Harris reacts to Gray trial verdict

harrisThe Baltimore Sun quotes Baltimore Green Party mayoral candidate Joshua Harris on the not guilty verdict in the trial of Officer Edward Gero in the death of Freddie Gray: “Today, Officer Nero was found not guilty on all charges. I thank Judge Williams for doing his job and applaud the SAO for pursuing the case. While I respect the legal process, I am aware that there are systemic and structural problems with race, class and economic disparity that extend far beyond this trial. It is those issues that have created the conditions for us to be at this point. Sadly, not much has been done in the 1 year since the unrest to begin to address these disparities. These are conversations, evaluations and work that must be done far beyond the pursuit of justice in a single trial and should be focused on equity. I am focused, committed and proactively doing the work needed to ensure structural change happens. Our city and its justice system will and should work for every citizen. My platform that will be released in the coming weeks, on public safety, agency transparency and accountability will offer changes that can be made to move our city forward.”

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Lavender Caucus’s Dennis: Greens have led the way on LGBTQIA+ rights

lavender_greens logoMichael Dennis of the Green Party Lavender Caucus Steering Committee writes at The Huffington Post that as “the world celebrates International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia,” he is taking the “opportunity to reflect on the contributions that the Green Party has made to LGBTI persons and call upon my party to challenge itself in helping advance justice for this community.”

Dennis says the Green Party “has been ahead of the curve regarding including LGBTQIA+ persons in our policies and values. In 1984, activists nationwide gathered in St. Paul to write a share statement of belief that would become the basis of the Green Party. That statement put forth the importance of the rights of LGB persons and their families — including equal rights in marriage and adoption. This followed the lead of the original German Green Party — and followed by other Greens globally.” He notes that in her 2002 campaign for Massachusetts governor, Jill Stein became the first gubernatorial candidate to call for legal same-sex marriage “in the state that first gave us marriage justice.” Two years later, Jason West, the Green mayor of New Paltz, New York, “was arrested, handcuffed, and charged, for marrying 26 same-sex couples.”

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Flowers joins Flint activists at hearing; Stein calls for Snyder and McCarthy to leave office

flowersrayburnMaryland Green Party U.S. Senate candidate Margaret Flowers joined Flint, Michigan, residents and advocates at the Rayburn House Office Building Thursday to demand that the Environmental Protection Agency and Gov. Rick Snyder be held accountable for their inaction regarding water poisoning in the city.

“I went to speak with people and be in solidarity with them,” Flowers said. “There were so many people from Flint that I gave up my place in line. Let’s hope that those responsible are held accountable, that action is taken to provide clean water to everyone, and treatment for those who are impacted by the contamination and that processes are put in place so this doesn’t happen again.”

Flowers, a pediatrician, said the dangers in the U.S. water supply go far beyond Flint, as is evident from the recent discovery of lead in Newark, New Jersey, school water supplies and New York Sen. Charles Schumer’s introduction of legislation to authorize federal grants for local school water testing after lead was found in water at two Ithaca schools. Also in Schumer’s home state, the toxic industrial pollutant perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) recently poisoned the water supply of about 4,000 upstate New Yorkers.

While Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was not at the hearing, she said Snyder and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy should “be removed from office and face any appropriate charges for overseeing this health disaster. Americans across the country owe thanks to the Flint community. By standing up for health and democracy in Flint, they are standing up for us all.”

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Green Party calls on Congress to reject Trans-Pacific Partnership

tppThe Green Party of the United States is calling on Congress to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership, saying it “poses a grave threat to democratically enacted environmental, labor, public health, and other legal protections.”

Colorado Green Party U.S. Senate candidate Arn Menconi said, “The TPP, if enacted, would be a coup for corporate oligarchy and a blow to democracy and the public interest. It was negotiated in secret with the help of 600 ‘trade advisors’ from powerful multinational corporations. It would establish a mechanism to override democratically enacted laws by handing legislative and judicial power to a small panel of corporate lawyers.”

Joe Manchik, Green Party candidate for U.S. House in Ohio’s 12th District, said, “Congress must kill the TPP now, before a new president and new Congress are inaugurated. President Obama used his final State of the Union address on Jan. 13 to promote the TPP, which may prove to be the most damaging legacy of his administration. … The TPP will sell the American people’s sovereignty over our nation down the river to the multinational corporations that own the Democratic-Republican Duopoly Party.”

In addition, Sanda Everette of the Coordinating Committee of the Green Party of California, who attended the COP21 climate change summit in Paris last year, said, “The TPP would have greater force than the agreement decided on by the nations of the world at COP21. It creates a legal tool to block measures against global warming that step on the toes of powerful corporations.”

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Minnesota Greens take leading role in St. Paul minimum wage fight

15nowThe St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that 15 Now, which has campaigned for a $15 per hour minimum wage in Minneapolis, has joined forces with St. Paul-based $15 in ’16 to create 15NowSTP to campaign for a $15 minimum in Minnesota’s capital city. Green Party activists Brandon Long and Jesse Mortenson are among the leaders of the new group.

The newspaper says that Long, “who foresees a minimum wage increase going to ballot referendum in Minneapolis, said the proposed St. Paul ordinance ‘will be strengthened to better match the eventual language of the Minneapolis ballot initiative.'”

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Mérida discusses mass incarceration and prison reform

meridaGreen Party National Co-Chair Andrea Mérida spoke with Truthout about mass incarceration and prison reform. She said the Green Party wants “‘to make a deep analysis of the neoliberal policy that impacts the situation’…pointing out that mass incarceration is ‘not just simply about bigotry.'”

Truthout says the Green Party platform “maintains that justice systems should be ‘based in love, compassion, nonviolence and humility, while at the same time provide protection for those who have been harmed and for the rest of society.’ The party particularly promotes systems of restorative and transformative justice that advance crime prevention by ‘looking at the systemic roots of crime in inequality and alienation.'”

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Cherney supports lowering voting age to 16

about_Darryl_Cherney_lgDarryl Cherney, who is exploring a run for the 2016 Green Party presidential nomination, said via Facebook that he supports lowering the voting age to 16.

Cherney made the comment in response to an effort underway in the District of Columbia to lower the voting age there to 16. Several other cities are also considering lowering the voting age.

Cherney has said he will decide on a campaign in January.

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D.C. Statehood Greens back new District statehood campaign

Mt32oY5gThe District of Columbia Statehood Green Party is backing a proposed D.C. Council resolution supporting a new statehood campaign.

Statehood Green Party activist David Schwartzman testified in support of the “Statehood or Else” Signature Campaign Resolution on Tuesday. The campaign seeks to gather one million signatures backing statehood to be delivered to the White House, every member of the Senate and House, and party leaders at the 2016 Democratic and Republican national conventions.

Schwartzman said, “As the local affiliate of the Green Party of the United States which has long supported D.C. statehood in its platform, unlike the national Democratic and Republican parties, we are committed to energize our national party and Global Greens, to support D.C. statehood nationally and internationally. … But what is the ‘else’ in ‘Statehood or Else’? The only alternative is a commitment to create mass resistance to our present neo-colonial status, including civil disobedience on a scale not yet witnessed in the District of Columbia. But the challenge is to make this resistance possible by raising the morale of our residents in a city with very high income inequality, income insecurity and poverty, while simultaneously improving the quality of life for our residents by addressing these realities of everyday life.”

Residents of the District of Columbia do not have representation in the Senate or House. Even though D.C. residents pay the highest overall rate of federal income taxes in the nation, and even though more people live in D.C. than in Vermont or Wyoming, and even though more than 200,000 have fought in America’s wars and 5,000 never came home, they have no voice in the federal legislature. D.C. does have a delegate to the House who has limited rights in committees, but no guaranteed vote on legislation. In the Senate, D.C. has no representation at all.

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Stein protests “unjust imprisonment” of Edward Pinkney

Rev.-Edward-PinkneyGreen Party presidential candidate Jill Stein said on her campaign Facebook page, “Please join me in raising our voices to protest the unjust imprisonment of anti-corporate, anti-racist, community powerhouse Reverend Edward Pinkney, and his punitive transfer last week to a prison far from his family, attorney and community in Benton Harbor, MI. Reverend Pinkney’s imprisonment is a case of blatant political and racial harassment, jailing him for over 300 days while his wrongful conviction by an all white jury for a minor offense not normally given jail time — allegedly altering dates on a recall petition — is under appeal no less. There was no evidence presented at trial to support the conviction in the first place.”

Stein urged supporters to “call Michigan Department of Corrections Director Heidi Washington, or her assistant Sandy Simon, to urge Rev. Pinkney’s return down state: 517-241-7238.”