We are a small local chapter of a small state Green Party, in the process of establishing ourselves. As such, it has sometimes been difficult to stay abreast of what’s happening at the national level with the Green Party US. For that reason, we were excited to have one of our local members, Anika Ofori, attend the Annual National Meeting in July. We looked forward to her first-hand account of what transpired in Newark.
Unfortunately, while there were positive developments at the meeting, these were largely overshadowed by a series of deeply troubling occurrences. Details are spelled out in Anika’s report. We are writing today to express our concern, not only for the welfare of our local member who was harassed, but for the welfare of the Party as a whole.
The Green Party should be a model for democratic practice. For that reason, we are concerned about reports of voting irregularities in the election of the steering committee. Our processes and procedures need to be clear and fair.
We believe that attempts at bullying and intimidation have no place in our Party. We acknowledge various forms of privilege make true dialog difficult, and special steps must be taken in order that all voices may be heard. For example, white privilege and male privilege tend to create situations where women and people of color are marginalized, unless we are very intentional about creating fostering respectful dialog among members. When debating critical issues, emotions run high, which is why it is critically important to establish bedrock norms of peace and respect. Certainly there can be never be an excuse for confrontations to become physical and involve the threat of violence.
We urge the Green Party US to take these issues seriously. We are striving to do the same here in our local, and much work remains.