Gateway Green Alliance/Green Party of St. Louis

Digital version of article from Sept 2000 Compost Dispatch

Blacks, Greens join in Garvey celebration

On August 17, Green Party Gubernatorial candidate Zaki Baruti presented the concept of a Black/Green electoral coalition to representatives of many African American activist groups, Greens and many other members of the community at the Celebration of the Birthday of Marcus Garvey.

This coalition is exemplified by the Green candidacies of two African Americans for the top two offices on the ballot in Missouri this year: Zaki Baruti for Governor and Evaline Taylor for U.S. Senator. The Celebration was sponsored by the Universal African People's Organization (UAPO) and held at All Saints Episcopal Church on N. Kingshighway and Terry in St. Louis.

Among those speaking about Marcus Garvey and his import to the struggle today were Eric Vickers, a candidate in the recent Democratic primary for Congress in the 1st District; Safiya Chauvain of the African Heritage Youth Organization; a representative of the Black Panther Party; a representative of the African Hebrew Israelites; and Albee Walls of the All African People's Revolutionary Party. Also in attendance and supportive were representatives of the Nation of Islam and Moorish Science Temple.

After the Garvey Celebration, Zaki Baruti spoke about an alliance between Blacks and Greens. He said that the Democrats were not representing minority issues: "We need a new way of thinking." Quoting Malcolm X, Baruti asserted that the black community had been "bamboozled and taken." Baruti pointed to the candidates from the Democrats and Republicans for U.S. Senate and five other statewide offices this year: not one African American out of 12 combined candidates from the two parties, and only one woman candidate out of 12. Apparently, the Democrats and Republicans can't find any women or African American candidates. The Greens can, and did.

The Greens have a diverse slate this year: counting Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke, there are 4 women and 4 men on the Green statewide ticket, including a Native American (LaDuke) and two African American candidates. Baruti described the Green ticket as the new "Dream Team."

Baruti also praised the Greens on the issues. He spoke of many parallels between the Green Party Platform and the Platform of the UAPO. Baruti said that Greens and Blacks working together could create change in this state and nation. Baruti also spoke of his support for the candidacy of Ralph Nader for President.

Mary Ann McGivern, Green Party candidate for Attorney General, spoke forcefully about her candidacy and her intent to fight against the death penalty. Noting that the death penalty has often been applied in a racist manner, she stated that executions diminish us all. Noting numerous situations this year in which people on "death row" had been found innocent and released, McGivern stated there was no doubt that some innocent people have been executed.

Long-time Green activist Don Fitz spoke about the Green effort to draw candidates from grass roots activists who were working to create change. He described the birth of the Greens in Germany in the mid 70s and how the movement has grown worldwide since then. Fitz described a Eurocentric mindset that dominated the environment and led to the despoiling of the land, air and water. That same Eurocentric mindset destroyed indigenous cultures throughout the world, and supported the domination of minorities in this country.

Green candidates in attendance included Baruti, Brenda (Ziah) Reddick, Mary Auer, Patricia Turek, and Frank Eller, Jr.

The presentation of the concept of a Black/Green alliance was well received. Afterwards, many offered contributions and volunteered to work for the election of Baruti for Governor on the Green ticket.

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