Green Party US / Twitter

Although no formal endorsement of a 2016 presidential candidate is forthcoming from the Black Lives Matter movement, that doesn’t mean Green Party leaders won’t keep trying to recruit its members.

On Tuesday, party member Margaret Flowers, running for a U.S. Senate seat in Maryland, and James Lane, her co-chair for the party’s presidential nominating convention in Houston in August, posted on the party’s website an open letter to BLM supporters. The letter referred to BLM co-founder Alicia Garza’s June 15 keynote speech at the Personal Democracy Forum 2016 in New York City, in which Garza described “how black power is transforming democracy” and in which she called for “a world where black lives matter … A world where all lives matter.”

Here’s an excerpt from Flowers and Lane’s letter:

In her recent keynote speech at the Personal Democracy Forum in New York City, Alicia Garza called out both the Democratic and Republican parties for failing to halt the growing hatred and inequality that target people of color in the United States and, we would add, around the world. Alicia noted the need to build power on many fronts, socially, economically and politically, in order to confront the status quo and create a world in which black and brown lives are valued.

We agree wholeheartedly with Alicia and the many courageous people who are struggling to end racist policies that perpetrate violence on black and brown communities through redlining, gentrification, disinvestment, criminalization, the drug war, mass incarceration, and more. We agree that we must disrupt the status quo and work together to build a new democracy in which black lives matter.

We invite all people who care about protecting and empowering black lives to work with us to build political power outside the corporate duopoly through the Green Party.

Garza explained her particular use of the phrase “all lives matter,” which has been mobilized as a way of arguing against the ideas that galvanized the BLM movement, in an interview with The Huffington Post:

In the keynote you mentioned that “all lives matter,” but it was in a very different context than the usual talking point. Can you explain a little more on what you meant?

The basis of “All Lives Matter,” specifically when deployed in response to the assertion that black lives matter, is deeply flawed. Of course, theoretically all lives should matter. But that’s not the context we live in. For example, every day, many of us walk by people without homes who are literally living on the streets. Black families are seven times more likely to be homeless than white families. The majority of people in prisons and jails in this country are black. One in 13 black people are barred from voting and influencing the decisions that impact their lives.

When we address the disparities facing black people, we get a lot closer to a true democracy where all lives matter.

How does Black Lives Matter intend to continue moving the conversations around black political power and racial justice forward, especially leading up to the general election in November?

Black Lives Matter is doing the work of engaging our communities around the issues that are important to us — and this will have a major impact on the elections. Many of our people are engaged in important work to help our communities understand the root cause of the violence that we experience. Some of our people are engaged deeply in making sure that the barriers to participation are removed. Still others of us are meeting to discuss what it means to build independent black political power.

At the end of the day, our movements must always be clear that in the current state of democracy, our fight is always bigger than who sits in the White House. But given that there is a fight happening for that seat, our job is to make sure that there is a base of people who can hold that person accountable for the decisions that they make here in the United States and around the world.

Watch Alicia Garza’s speech at the Personal Democracy Forum below (via YouTube):

–Posted by Kasia Anderson


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