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Working toward a future where people and planet are valued, and our government represents all of us.
The Caged Bird Sings of Freedom
-- by GPPA Co-chair Alan Smith
An Igbo woman from Nigeria kidnapped, enslaved and trafficked to a North Carolina plantation met an Indigenous American man from the Lumbie tribe and gave birth to a child in 1824. That child would become my great-great grandmother. 130 years later a boy was born to a poor family in a war torn area of Nigeria and would later contribute to the field of super-computing helping me to write these words today. These are part of many important stories filled with tribulation and triumph that describe my world, as a black man living in 21st Century United States. To paraphrase what's often called the "Negro National Anthem:" This is my song full of the faith that the dark past has taught me. This is my song full of the hope that the present has brought me.
February is Black History Month. It began in 1926 as Negro History week by historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the second black person in history to earn a doctorate from Harvard University after W.E.B. Dubois. It expanded to Black History Month in 1970 by students and educators at Kent State University and officially by the president of the United States in 1976. When started, the week was chosen because it contained the birthday of Frederick Douglass revered as a passionate advocate for black liberation. Anne Murray, a free black person saw Douglass working at the docks and fell in love. She gave up her life savings to purchase him a disguise and transportation north to help him escape enslavement. Anne Murray's efforts freed a caged bird and he flew far and wide as a result, eventually becoming a trusted adviser to the president of the United States.
Perhaps most importantly Douglass founded his own newspaper, "The North Star," as he advocated for a free press, media that was not a propaganda piece for the ruling elite, but a venue for the marginalized to share their stories to expose systematic injustices. "We would in this regard direct your attention to the means by which we have been oppressed and degraded," he writes in 1848 in "An Address to the Colored People of the United States."
"Chief among those means, we may mention the press . . . . It is easy to see that the means that have been used to destroy us must be used to save us. The press must be used on our behalf: aye! we must use it ourselves."
These words ring with familiarity today as mainstream media and corporate entities such as Google and Facebook employ various tactics to silence dissenting views. The ruling class is working hard to censor things that disrupt their narrative. They purged over 800 Facebook pages. They demonetization Youtube channels. They engaged in McCarthy-like fear-mongering insinuating that blacks and Greens were duped by foreign agents into voting against the Democratic Party. Controlling the narrative is important, for stories shape our conception of reality and paint an indelible image on our mental landscape. As South African philosopher and freedom fighter, Steve Biko said, "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." Or as my daddy would always say to me, "Son, your mind is your nation, don't let nobody take your mind."
The Green Star named after Douglass's paper provides a powerful tool for Greens to question mainstream narratives and share stories in line with our 4 pillars and 10 key values. From keeping us off the ballot to locking us out of the debates these caging tactics seek to render us invisible, render us flightless. Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou each wrote poems about this caged bird phenomenon. "When he beats his bars and he would be free, it is not a carol of joy or glee … but a plea that upward to Heaven he flings, I know why the caged bird sings," writes Hughes in "Sympathy." "A bird that stalks his narrow cage, can seldom see through his bars of rage, his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing .... the caged bird sings of freedom,” writes Angelou in "Caged Bird." Both poets invite us to SING LOUDLY, to share our voices, our stories as an act of liberation.
Although imprisoned by the shackles imposed by the ruling class and oppressive economic, political, and cultural systems, we must SING LOUDLY. We must SING LOUDLY so that our notes not only shatter glass ceilings and bend metal, but so that we can also drown out and make obsolete the dangerous and hypnotic harmonies of consumerism, greed, militarism, and white supremacy.
"Until the lion has its own historian, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter," says a Kenyan proverb. We must SING LOUDLY to give voice to the lions, but even more importantly, we must eliminate the hunt, the greedy quest for trophies and riches that is killing everything on this planet.
We must cultivate and nurture a way of life that places people, planet and peace over profit. Let's challenge the mainstream corporate narratives, planting seeds of doubt. Let's share our stories of tribulation and triumph laying the fertile ground for a better tomorrow. Let's be the media. Let's SING LOUDLY.
"Lift every voice and sing. Till earth and heaven ring. Ring with the harmonies of liberty."
(First line of James Weldon Johnson's "Lift Every Voice and Sing" commonly referred to as the Negro National Anthem.)
GPPA News Highlights
edited by Sheri Miller and Chris Robinson
Delegates of the Green Party of Pennsylvania elected a new party co-chair, Alan Smith of Chester County, at their first meeting of the new year held on January 13. Smith will join current Co-Chair Sheri Miller of Adams County, to lead the Green Party in 2019. Smith will bring a wealth of knowledge and skills to the Green Party leadership through extensive experience as a philosopher, educator, and peacemaker. As a long-distance runner, he also understands the value of patience, perseverance, persistence and pacing and uses these tools in all endeavors. Having taught students from kindergarten to university, Smith’s philosophy begins with the idea that we are all teachers and all learners.
The GPPA meeting was held via web conference to allow widespread representation for the election without the barriers of travel, cost and inclement weather. In all, 29 delegates, elected by their county Green Parties, participated on 14 computer terminals throughout the state, from Erie to Philadelphia Counties and from Wayne to Allegheny Counties. (show all)
Other January GPPA Actions
Welcome to our Newest County Local
Wayne County was approved by consensus as a GPPA local affiliate at the January meeting. They have submitted bylaws and have elected officers and delegates. Welcome Wayne County! For more information visit them on Facebook.
Delegates at the January meeting elected new officers and representatives:
GPPA Steering Committee
Co-Chair Alan Smith (2 years)
Co-Chair Sheri Miller (continue for 1 year)
Treasurer Tim Runkle (continue for 1 year)
Secretary Beth Scroggin (2 years)
At Large Members Jocolyn Bowser-Bostick, Shane Rielly, and Cheryl Rougeux (1 year terms)
GPUS National Committee Delegates
Stuart Chen-Hayes, Kristin Combs, Hillary Kane, and Beth Scroggin
Alternate Delegates: Charles Sherrouse and Garret Wasserman
Accreditation: Kristin Combs
Annual National Meeting: Sheri Miller
Ballot Access: Lon Diffenderfer, Charles Sherrouse
Banking & Monetary Reform: Tim Runkle, Garret Wassermann
Bylaws, Rules, Policies, and Procedures: Charles Sherrouse
Coordinated Campaign Committee: Hillary Kane
Dispute Resolution: Sheri Miller
Diversity Committee: Alan Smith, Jacob Belmonte
Eco-Action: Neal Gale
International: Carl Romanelli, Tom Bailey, Alex Noyle
Media: Kristin Combs, Dave Ochmanowicz
Merchandise: Dave Ochmanowicz
Peace Action: Alan Smith, Alex Noyle, Antonio Solari
Platform: Garrett Wasserman
Team Leader Appointments
CoreTeam Leader(s): Kristin Combs, Jason Jackson
Finance Team Leader(s): Tim Runkle
Communications Team Leader(s): Chris Robinson, Shane Rielly
Greenwave Team Leader(s): Garrett Wasserman
3 Ways to Help the Green Party (and probably not even notice) by Dave Ochmanowicz
“Be Seen Being Green” everyday … No Green message is too small or simple to share. Passively sharing the “Green Party” by name is one of the easier actions we can actively engage in to garner awareness and help further educate. Everyday you passively interact with dozens or thousands of people whether you realize it or not. Maybe a lot of people look at your backpack on the bus or subway, everyday. A trip to the grocery store in a town of 15,000 people on a Saturday for 45 minutes and you have just had forty or so people looking right at you. Your laptop could be out all day at school and every one of your classmates sees the back of your screen, everyday. (show all)
Core Report submitted by Kristin Combs
The Core Team is looking for new members to help us kick off 2019! Our mission is to create structures that allow the state party to maximize the productivity of its members. If looking at the perfectly color-coded bookshelf below makes you happy, we can use your skill set on Core Team to help make GPPA function at its best. Sign up HERE and join us on our next call - Tuesday, February 12 at 8 pm.
Communications Report submitted by Chris Robinson
The GPPA Communication Team posted two News Releases to the media (on 1/4 and 1/20), and we have continued to hold monthly conference calls at 9:00 pm on the third Tuesday of each month. In addition, both the January and February issues of GREEN STAR have been published on time. If you would like to join the Communication Team, please contact me at chrisrecon-at-netzero-dot-net or at 215-843-4256, or sign up HERE
Finance Report submitted by Tim Runkle
Significant progress has been made with the Finance Team’s first fundraising effort of 2019. As of the end of January, our Triple the Impact fundraiser is at 88% of the target goal. Thanks to a generous matching donor, each of your donations is matched at 3-to-1 up to $1,000 for the campaign. The fundraiser will last through February 10 so don’t miss out on your chance to Triple the Impact of your monetary support to GPPA. To join the Finance Team, sign up HERE
GreenWave Report submitted by Garret Wasserman
GreenWave would like to invite everyone to mark your calendars for the weekend of March 23rd to 24th, when we will be hosting the next Green Party of Pennsylvania convention here in Pittsburgh! The theme is “2019 Kickoff!”, and we expect Saturday March 23rd to include guest speakers and workshops focused on how local government works and how you can run for an elected municipal office! It will also be a great opportunity for new folks to learn more about the Green Party itself. Watch for further information coming soon!
Green Wave has also begun work on identifying candidates for office this year, and linking both candidates and volunteers to appropriate training courses and webinars to build campaign skills and capacity.
To that end, have *you* -- yes you! -- thought about running for office? 2019 is the year for municipal elections, meaning all of the local elected positions that actually have a large influence on your daily life -- city council, school board, even magistrates and judicial positions! Most of these offices have very low requirements to run; you can often win with just a few hundred votes and you typically only need to attend a couple of evening meetings a month, not a huge time commitment. While these offices don't get a lot of media attention, don't let that fool you -- local offices make important decisions! For example, Greens on a city or township council can vote to reject or ban fracking in the municipality; as the petrochemical industry encroaches further on Pennsylvania, we will need more dedicated Greens on local councils to resist! School boards for example can ensure no child goes without a nutritious lunch and that students are learning about climate change, sustainable practices, and Green values. If interested in running, please contact Green Wave as soon as possible and consider attending the state convention in March.
GreenWave oversees a regional network of support for candidates, campaigns, and new county affiliations. If you'd like to be involved in a state or local campaign, help organize a new local in your county, or apply for an internship, contact Green Wave or email Garret at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our phone calls are the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month. It takes hundreds of Greens just like you to make the Green Party work. We are a people-powered party!
edited by Dave Ochmanowicz
The Green Party of the United States stands in solidarity with the Los Angeles Teachers Union in their strike demands, including lowering class size and retaining/hiring essential support staff such as nurses, counselors, and librarians. We oppose education policies seeking to privatize public schools and bust unions and join with teachers to advocate for living wages for all workers. We support systemic change to strengthen labor and communities while ending the school-to-prison pipeline.(show all)
Youngstown, Ohio – Dario Hunter revealed on his Facebook page Tuesday that he is launching an exploratory committee for the Green Party Presidential nomination in 2020. In a video where he calls himself unapologetically Black, proudly Gay, and proudly progressive, Hunter shared a platform that includes bringing an end to poverty, universal single-payer health care, full employment, and civil rights.(show all)
The Green Party's Green New Deal would fulfill the full promise of the original New Deal as articulated by President Franklin Roosevelt in his last State of the Union address in 1944 when he called upon Congress to enact a second, economic bill of rights, including the rights to a job, an adequate income, decent housing, comprehensive health care, and a good education. What makes it a Green New Deal is that the rapid build out of a 100% clean energy system would provide the sustainable economic foundation for the realization of economic human rights for all.(show all)
Chris Alders of the Green Party of Canada has compiled a series of successes by Green Parties around the world in 2018 and I added a couple of more. The successes show Greens can win. My sense is that despite the structural obstacles we face in the United States, if we face up to our internal shortcomings and build a serious political party that represents movement issues, the working class, poor and middle class and is diverse by race, gender, and age, and clearly stands as the independent, opposition to the two Wall Street parties, we will start to win. And, once we start, momentum will rapidly grow because people want a viable alternative to two corporate parties they see as corrupt.(show all)
A deafening chorus of negative grumbling from the left, right, and center of the US political spectrum in response to Trump’s decision to remove US troops from Syria and halve their numbers in Afghanistan appears to have slowed down his attempt to bring our forces home. However, in this new year, demilitarizing US foreign policy should be among the top items on the agenda of the new Congress. Just as we are witnessing a rising movement for a visionary Green New Deal, so, too, the time has come for a New Peace Deal that repudiates endless war and the threat of nuclear war which, along with catastrophic climate change, poses an existential threat to our planet.(show all)
edited by Sheri Miller
Browsing the international Green news can be very uplifting. Greens are fighting for a brighter future throughout the world and have had many successes around the globe!
These Parties Are Fighting for the Climate, Human Rights, and Immigrants—and They’re Winning submitted by Jay Walker
Europe’s Green parties recorded best-ever showings in regional votes last year in Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands, and they are today, according to polls, flying higher than usual in other countries where the party is much weaker. The emergence of the environmentally minded, left-liberal Greens as a decisive political factor—above all, but not exclusively, in northern Europe—is a rebuke to the national populists and cautious reason for hope. (show all)
photo credit: Reuters / Andreas Gebert
edited by Chris Robinson
LOOK HERE TO FIND OUT ABOUT STATEWIDE AND LOCAL EVENTS.
(To submit a proposal for your county to organize an in-person state meeting or another local, state-sponsored event, fill out the Event Hosting Application Form.)
February 3, 2:30 pm
Divest Philly from the War Machine
Parkway Central Library Room 407, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia.
February 5, 6:00 pm
Green Party of Allegheny County General Assembly
Panera Bread community room, 3401 Boulevard of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA.
February 5, 7:00 pm
Chester County Green Party Meeting
The Dadones' house, 20 Redtail Court, West Chester, PA,
February 7, 7:00 pm
Green Party of Delaware County
Swarthmore Borough Hall, 1st floor Council Room, 121 Park Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081
February 11, 7:00 pm
Lackawanna County Green Party Meeting
2043 North Main Avenue, Scranton, PA
February 11, 7:00 pm
Green Party of Philadelphia, City Committee Meeting
Tuttleman Hall Room 100, Temple University, 1801 North 13th Street, North Philadelphia,
February 25, 7:00 pm
Bucks County Green Party Meeting
Guru’s Indian, 12 Cambridge Lane, Newtown, PA.
February 28, 7:00 pm
Green Party of Philadelphia, Membership Meeting
(location to be announced)
Greens will elect a 2019 City Committee (think “steering committee”).
March 5, 6:00 pm
Green Party of Allegheny County meeting
Panera Bread community room, 3401 Boulevard of the Allies, Pittsburgh
Begin to Circulate Green Party Nomination Papers
Contact your local Green Party or visit GreenWave.
SAVE THE DATE
March 23, 10:00 am through March 24, 4:00 pm
The GPPA will host a weekend Convention on March 23 and 24. Our line-up and venue are not yet set, however, expect to have a full day of speakers and workshops on Saturday. (show all)
GPPA Meeting Dates for 2019:
- March Convention: Saturday - Sunday, March 23-24
- May Virtual Meeting/Spring Web Conference: Sunday, May 19th, 12pm-4pm
- Summer Retreat: Saturday - Sunday, July 13-14
- September Virtual Meeting/Fall Web Conference: Sunday, September 15th, 12pm-4pm
- Fall Conference & Celebration: Saturday - Sunday, November 16-17
Web Conferences are online - RSVP to get connection information. The locations for in-person conferences are to be determined. In-person conferences can be hosted by counties, county groups or regions. These events are fundraisers. When hosted locally, the host group receives back half of the revenue after expenses. To apply for hosting, submit your info to our Application for Local Hosting of GPPA State Meetings or GPPA-Sponsored Events. We strive for geographic diversity in reviewing applications, however, all submissions are considered.
Check out our merchandise page to find a way to #BeSeenBeingGreen
Seeking small donations from many (rather than huge donations from just a few) ensures that the party and its candidates represent real, everyday people and not just special interests.
You can support the Green Party in many ways; however, a monthly sustaining donation helps to fund a solid infrastructure to help local chapters coordinate candidates and provide resources to make their campaigns successful. As little as $3 per month can have a significant impact!
Join us and help bring about a future where people and planet are valued over profits. We have a new, tiered membership structure that allows you to determine your level of commitment and support. And if you want to get more directly involved, consider volunteering or joining a committee. Work with other committed progressives and activists in activities such as planning events, developing media content, or helping with campaigns. Let's join together to make 2018 the year of progressives!
Green Party of Pennsylvania Communications Team & Media Committee
EDITORS: Sheri Miller, Chris Robinson, Dave Ochmanowicz Jr.
CONTRIBUTORS: Jay Ting Walker
GRAPHIC ARTS: Kevin Richardson
Additional resources from the Green Party of the United States
Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org
News Center http://www.gp.org/newscenter.shtml
Video Page http://www.gp.org/video/index.php
Green Papers http://www.greenpapers.net/
Livestream Channel http://www.livestream.com/greenpartyus
GP-TV Twitter page http://www.gp.org/twitter
Facebook page http://www.gp.org/facebook
Green Pages: The official publication of record of the Green Party of the United States http://gp.org/greenpages-blog