January 2017 Green Focus Newsletter
The January 2017 issue of Green Focus, the official newsletter of the North Carolina Green Party is now available.
You can download it as a PDF here.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
I. Calling all Greens: Join (or re-join) the NCGP!
II. Sixteenth NCGP Fall Gathering brings major changes to party structure and bylaws
III. Upcoming meetings and events for NCGP members and allies
IV. National party updates
V. Meet the NCGP officers
VI. Editor's opinion
I. CALLING ALL GREENS: JOIN (OR REJOIN) THE NCGP!
We've changed the structure of our party. Even if you’ve been a member in the past, please read about our recent structural changes in the next section below and join the North Carolina Green Party by becoming a dues-paying member in 2017. Click here to JOIN or RE-JOIN.
II. SIXTEENTH NCGP FALL GATHERING BRINGS MAJOR CHANGES TO PARTY STRUCTURE AND BYLAWS
GREENSBORO — Changes suggested at the Spring Gathering in early 2016 went into effect after a vote at the Fall Gathering held on December 17 in Greensboro. Those changes included the transition of the state party into a dues-paying party, rededicating the party to a spirit of activism and independence from the two capitalist parties, and making permanent our Green Ballot Day signature-gathering effort.
Why dues? Our research into the history and practice of other dues-paying organizations leads us to believe that changing our membership structure is imperative. Greens must fund their own party. No movement or group that claims to represent the interests of people over capital can do otherwise and expect to succeed. The dues-paying progressive parties and union movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries understood this, as unions today understand it. We must have members on the ground to act, but we must also be able to support party growth and organizing and hire coordinators and directors.
For more discussion on dues, please read our Membership Page, especially the FAQs and the in-depth "Why Does the NCGP Require Dues?" section found there. If you donated to the NCGP in 2016, you will be recognized as a member for the 2017 year. However, we encourage all people to set up a recurring dues payment going forward.
The attendees of the Fall Gathering also effected a partial changing of the guard when longtime former co-chair Wayne Turner stepped down and NCGP membership coordinator Tony Ndege was voted in as state party co-chair, alongside Jan Martell. Jan’s interim position as co-chair after Stefania Przystanski stepped down became official via a vote of members in attendance. Two new officer positions and a media committee were created at the event, and some vacant officer positions were filled by Greens stepping up for the first time to offer service to the state party.
Here's a summary of the positions filled, contributed by former co-chair Wayne Turner:
Co-Chairs: We are fortunate to have elected to the co-chair positions two dedicated and experienced activists: Tony Ndege of Winston-Salem and Jan Martell of Durham. Tony brings with him decades of experience in issue organizing and activist response. He understands what progressives want to see from the Green Party and what policies will be useful in developing a motivated membership. A Stein campaign organizer at the state and regional level, Tony has experience in political campaign management and ground-level organizing for political support. Jan Martell is a founding member of the state party. She has years of experience at both the state and national levels as a delegate to the GPUS National Committee, state Ballot Access Coordinator, former NCGP Membership Chair, and Secretary to the national party. Both co-chairs can be reached at [email protected].
Vice Chair: Michael Trudeau of Cary remains our vice chair. In addition to working for the Stein campaign at the national level as data manager, Michael has been instrumental in moving the state to use NationBuilder as a communication and organizing tool. Michael also monitors and organizes ballot access efforts on the legal and legislative front, as well as on the ground. He's also on our nascent Media Committee, which will coordinate state public outreach and public relations. He can be reached at [email protected].
Secretary and Assistant Secretary: Newly elected secretary Tommie James of Charlotte and assistant secretary Javier (JJ) Rizo of Carrboro are bringing much-needed organizational support to these positions. Tommie and JJ are moving to archive our 16 years of documentation into an accessible and historical record that will provide us with a timely reference. Both Tommie and JJ can be reached at [email protected]
Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer: Shawn McDowell of Charlotte was elected to the treasurer position by the NCGP Coordinating Committee in the fall. Previously serving as assistant treasurer, he is replacing longtime founding member and former treasurer Kathryn Kuppers, who stays on as assistant treasurer. Shawn, along with Michael, has helped move us to new donation methods to replace our old and expensive interface in use since the party’s beginning. Members and supporters can now place a onetime dues payment or set up recurring payments with PayPal. Shawn and Kathryn can be reached at [email protected].
Membership Chair: Currently, Tony Ndege is also filling this role. We hope that this position can be filled by someone else in the near future. If you are interested in volunteering for this position or know someone who might be interested, please get in touch with the co-chairs at [email protected].
Local Growth Chair: This important position has been filled by Samantha (Sam) White of Asheville. A member of the Western NC Greens, Sam wants to help new locals get on their feet and running, to add supporters to the party, and to increase our presence across the state. These duties have been unfilled for many years. We look forward to being able to help Greens statewide develop influence in their communities and to increasing our volunteer base. We will provide an email address for Sam in the near future.
Newsletter Editor: C.J. Sellers of Asheville will take on this vital role. C.J. will solicit content for regular communications to the membership and produce a quarterly (or more often) newsletter. Send input or ideas for newsletter content to [email protected].
Spokesperson: This is a new position created at the fall meeting to provide a reliable public interface between the state party and public. Filled by Eddie Milanes of Asheville, the spokesperson will respond to media and speaker requests. Eddie will be looking for other members with public communication skills to build a bureau of speakers who can respond statewide. Eddie is also a co-chair of the Western NC Green Party, responsible for all counties west of Iredell. An official email address for Eddie will be available soon.
Media Officers: We have a newly formed media group consisting of Michael Trudeau of Cary, Sylvia Arthur of Franklin, and Forrest Hinton of Winston-Salem who, in conjunction with the newsletter editor, will be handling press releases, newsletter content, public communication, and member communication. We plan to have some formal media proposals to implement at the next meeting in spring 2017.
Website Manager: This position is currently filled by Michael Trudeau. If you are interested in volunteering for this position or know someone who might be interested, please get in touch with the Michael at [email protected]. Experience in NationBuilder or ability to learn is a must. HTML/CSS experience strongly preferred.
Fundraising Coordinator: Anna Lee Dillon Ordoubadi of the Triangle area has stepped up to take on this role. A former Mississippi Green, Anna is focused and result-oriented. We look forward to new financial ideas and ways to improve our antiwar chest.
Events: Greens are mobilizing to attend HKonJ (Historic Thousands on Jones Street), a massive protest for health care justice and civil rights to take place in downtown Raleigh on Saturday, February 11. More information at the HKonJ website. Find information on meeting up with other Greens at HKonJ via the NCGP Facebook group.
Meetings: Members and nonmembers alike are welcome at local chapter meetings of the NCGP. If you're not a member yet, attending a meeting is a great way to learn more and find out if you want to join the party.
* Charlotte – Sunday, February 5, 1:00 p.m. at Newell Farmers' Market, 1706 Rocky River Rd, Charlotte 28213. RSVP. Join the Charlotte Area GP Facebook group to stay informed about meetings and actions.
* Western NC – Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 5, both from 3:00–5:00 p.m. at Earth Fare, 66 Westgate Pkwy, Asheville 28806. RSVP for Jan. 22. Join the Western NC GP Facebook group to learn about upcoming meetings and actions.
* Triad – Next meeting is slated for Sunday, February 19, 4:00 p.m. in Greensboro, location TBA. Join the Triad GP Facebook group to stay abreast of the latest details. Last Triad meeting was January 15 at Scuppernong Books in Greensboro.
* Wilmington – Saturday, January 21, 5:00 p.m. at McAlister's Deli, 740 S College Rd, Wilmington 28403. Join the Eastern NC GP Facebook group to keep up with future meetings and actions.
* Triangle – Sunday, January 29, 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at East Regional Library, 946 Steeple Square Ct, Knightdale 27545. Join the Triangle GP Facebook group to learn about future meetings and actions.
* New Bern – Sunday, January 22. Contact co-chair Tony Ndege for information.
Too far? Organize one in your area! Contact co-chair Tony Ndege for information about organizing a meeting or founding a local chapter of the NCGP in your area.
• The Green Party of the United States (GPUS) is interviewing for the 2 new staff positions: Political/Field Organizer and a Volunteer/Frontline Communities Coordinator.
• Visit the GPUS website to catch the 2016 Green wrap-up statements submitted from states throughout the US.
• Moving forward in 2017, plans and news from state & local parties.
• GPUS mobilizing Greens to go to Occupy Inauguration protest.
Jan Martell, Co-chair of the NCGP
Jan has lived and studied in Massachusetts, Illinois, Minnesota, Switzerland, and Quebec but has lived in North Carolina for over forty years. After studying art at Smith College, MCAD, and Duke, she managed to get a job reshelving the fish collection at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology. She has worked as a librarian, helped run a print shop, and done a boatload of freelance graphic design projects in the music and arts community.
Mostly retired now, living in Durham, she helps edit a free local newspaper, Triangle Free Press.
Tony Ndege, Co-chair of the NCGP and interim Membership Coordinator
Tony has been one of the most energetic organizers in the state with an expansive activist and organizer résumé that spans over 20 years. He has organized from the local to national level for social justice, labor justice, immigrants’ rights, against war and military intervention, against the US embargo on Cuba, and against water contamination from coal ash and pollution. He has been a lead organizer for a wide range of major movements and events from NC #BlackLivesMatter to Occupy Wall Street, from the largest-ever protests against Duke Energy (the largest greenhouse gas polluter in the nation) and Bank of America to the largest state and national actions against the second Iraq War, and to the 2012 DNC protests, where he met Jill Stein at the March on Wall Street South. It was through this experience that he decided to support Jill Stein’s 2016 campaign and join the NCGP. While working on the Stein/Baraka campaign, Tony served as the NC State Coordinator and Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator, spanning VA through NJ.
Since he has joined the North Carolina Green Party as Membership Coordinator, it has formed a new local and membership has taken a remarkable surge. Tony also has training and professional experience in music (symphonic and opera), stage, and film. He is a proud alum of North Carolina School of the Arts and UNC Greensboro.
Michael Trudeau, Vice-chair of the NCGP
Michael Trudeau has been supporting the Green Party since 2000. He's the former data manager for the Stein/Baraka campaign and is serving his second term as vice chair of the NCGP.
You can reach Michale at [email protected].
Shawn McDowell, Treasurer of the NCGP
Born and raised in Charlotte, Shawn studied anthropology and criminal justice at UNC Charlotte, graduating in 2005. He has volunteered with Move to Amend, Greenpeace, and Charlotte Peoples’ Power Assembly and been an active member of NCGP since 2013. He accepted the nomination for Secretary that same year and was nominated and accepted as NCGP Treasurer in 2016. Shawn is currently pursuing a master’s in business at Queens University in Charlotte. He shared this memorable quote from writer Chris Hedges: “I will step outside the system. Voting for the 'lesser evil'—or failing to vote at all—is part of the corporate agenda to crush what is left of our anemic democracy. And those who continue to participate in the vaudeville of a two-party process, who refuse to confront in every way possible the structures of corporate power, assure our mutual destruction.”
Kathryn Kuppers, Assistant Treasurer of the NCGP
Kathryn was involved in founding the Charlotte Area Green Party in 2001. She served as Treasurer of the NCGP from February 2005 until November 2016, when she stepped down to be Assistant Treasurer. She also served for several years as Charlotte Area Green Party clerk, and then as CAGP treasurer. Her main concerns relating to her involvement in the Green Party are electoral reform, separation of church and state, and saving the planet and its nonhuman life from human destruction.
She has lived in Midland, NC, 15 miles east of Charlotte, since 1987, trying to lead a simple life.
Tommie Newton James, Secretary of the NCGP
Born and raised in Charlotte, Tommie holds a BA in cultural anthropology from UNCC. She studied advanced studio arts and art history at Winthrop University and earned an MBA from Queens University. She has worked as an ad artist and a fine artist, a legal secretary, and business consultant in the aviation industry.
Tommie has been a campaign volunteer in Charlotte for many years and was a Jill Stein / Ajamu Baraka 2016 campaign coordinator for the Charlotte Area.
Javier (JJ) Rizo, Assistant Secretary of the NCGP
JJ is new to the NCGP and North Carolina after recently moving from Seattle this past fall to Carrboro with his partner. He works as a research coordinator at Duke University in the department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences. JJ graduated from Seattle University in 2012 with a BA in psychology, working in behavioral health research and nursing while at the University of Washington.
Relatively new to political activism, he has been interested in politics for a while, seeing the next few years as an opportunity to grow a leftist grassroots movement. He sees the Green Party as a path to enact more democratic, progressive change that respects and works for the benefit of the planet, in opposition to neoliberalism. JJ also volunteers with Democracy North Carolina and hopes to help build the NCGP into a political force to be reckoned with.
He is helping to organize the Triangle Area Greens.
Anna Lee Dillon Ordoubadi, Fundraising Coordinator of the NCGP
Anna works as a part-time therapist and musician and full-time mom in the Triangle area.
She is excited about the new chapter forming in her area and looks forward to helping build the Green Party at the local and state level.
Sam White, Local Growth Chair of the NCGP
Samantha is a passionate human and planet health activist, awakened to the importance of political involvement by the election fraud that befell Bernie Sanders. “Tuning into Democracy Now!, The Young Turks, and a wide variety of other unbiased sources helped to clear the fog from the mainstream media’s propaganda,” she says. Her current goals for the NCGP include organizing the party, running for an office position, and implementing her Sustainable Development plan that would transition cities to be self-sustaining and free from the influence of corporate conglomerates and monopolies. Corporate influence, including Citizens United, helps to ensure she’ll remain politically active for awhile, “until true justice and equality prevails.” Some experience that has helped her along the way includes store manager training, yoga and mindfulness teacher training, and many college courses.
She holds an associate degree in biology and is a sustainability consultant for individuals, communities, and perhaps, one day, the whole world! Meanwhile, she is working toward a bachelor’s in biological sciences to work in holistic medical research. Her personal and professional goals revolve around humanistic values and “saving the world,” all of which align with the Green Party’s four pillars and ten key values!
Eddie Julius Milanes, Spokesperson for the NCGP, co-chair of the Western NC Green Party, and Asheville resident
“Along with Michael Trudeau, I created the spokesperson position for the NCGP to speak to the public about our values and discuss what we stand for. Helping promote the party and getting us in the public eye is something I've been wanting to do for quite some time.
With the added public role we can better serve our people in getting ballot access in the state and introducing voters to a true party of the people—a party that is grassroots from the bottom up, a party that doesn't take money from corporations, lobbyists, and super PACs, a party that cares about our future and our world 100 percent.”
C.J. Sellers, Newsletter Editor
Originally from Toledo, C.J. moved south with her family due to the closing of the paint plant that employed her father, who was forced to transfer to the nounion plant in northern Virginia or face unemployment—so her life was fundamentally changed by corporate politics. She’s lived in the South, away from the majority of her family, since 1980 and went Green and began working on Green campaigns for higher office in 2006. C.J. is a queer-identifying, LGBTIQ, peace, voting, and animal-rights activist. C.J. briefly served as co-chair of the Buncombe Green Party before it dissolved and was later reformed as the Western NC Green Party. C.J. designed the logo for that group as well as for the local animal rights advocacy group, Asheville Voice for Animals.
C.J. has over a decade experience as a freelance graphic and web designer, including, a few years as the webmaster/site designer for stopthebombs.org Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, which has maintained regular protests against the nuclear arms components produced at Oak Ridge National Laboratory since 1988. C.J. also reported local news for a county newspaper, the Grainger Today. Her specialty as a reporter is framing progressive issues for a conservative audience. In the fall of 2015, she organized a multi-participant press conference in Asheville on the topic of the problem of ballot access in NC, featuring voting rights groups and Green candidate Jill Stein, with Bruce Dixon of the Black Agenda Report. In 2016, she co-coordinated a multi-partisan panel on the future of political parties that featured Green and Libertarian spokespersons as well as local politicians Cecil Bothwell and Carl Mumpower. See her opinion column in this issue for a personal reflection on Tennessee and North Carolina politics.
Sylvia Arthur, NCGP Media Group
Sylvia is helping to organize the Triangle Area chapter. She is from Port Townsend, WA. In Washington she chaired the Statewide Poverty Action Network Coordinating Committee. After coming East about 5 years ago, she volunteered on the coordinating committee of the Ohio Green Party and worked with the membership and public outreach committee of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition. She now lives in Franklin County, NC, and has been active with the Triangle Area group since our March ballot access drive.
“My organizing abilities create structures and provide the necessary information for groups to accomplish their goals and increase their capacity. I also like to practice the 3 C’s—cooperating, coordinating, and collaborating—with many other groups in the community so we can build an active voter base that will get our candidates elected.”
Forrest Hinton, NCGP Media Group
“I'm a gay, Black, outspoken (often aggressively) feminist, with a love for cooking and baking, wine, and answering tough questions most people avoid. I came into the Green Party by way of the Stein/Baraka 2016 campaign.
Two particular platform issues brought me to their campaign. First, education. I also believe that education is a fundamental human right and should be available to all. Second, the campaign's approach to foreign policy. No other campaign considered the rights of citizens of sovereign nations when formulating their plan. I'm glad to be a part of an political organization that doesn't compromise integrity for power. Looking forward to many rich and productive years with the Greens!”
Voting rights had long been my central focus since joining the Green Party back in 2006, and it was a major reason I joined, second to my need as a pacifist to be able to vote for peace instead of never-ending warfare. I moved to NC a few years ago from a Republican-gerrymandered district in east Tennessee, landing in the progressive liberal oasis in the mountains of western North Carolina that is Asheville. I’d fled Tennessee offended by the homophobic antagonistic attitudes and attempted legislation of many of the fundamentalist southern Baptist Republicans common in the rural area in which I lived. Upon arrival here, it wasn’t long before I wished I’d done more research before moving to North Carolina, since much of the rest of the state is nowhere as progressive as Asheville. Not only did it pass a law to prevent gay marriage; it stifled protest with an ag-gag law, passed inadequate environmental reforms in response to a major coal ash spill, and passed sweeping voter legislation that targeted people of color, prompting mass protests and the claim that North Carolina is the new Selma and battleground for civil rights. We know that with Republicans in charge all this time, none of those situations have improved. On the voting rights front, Democracy Now! just last week reported, “In North Carolina, a new report finds the state’s democratic institutions are so flawed, the state should no longer be considered a functioning democracy.” Yet when discussing “democracy,” for most the right to vote third party doesn’t even come into consideration. North Carolina has the #1 most difficult access to the ballot for independents and third-party candidates. You’ll hear so-called realists say you can’t win as a Green. Sure, it’s much easier if we run under the umbrella of either of the two major parties, but if we do, our identity is erased for the average voter since Greens don’t get coverage by the mainstream media—most people don’t know the Green Party exists or what it represents, much less who our candidates are by name. And what they do hear are mostly disinformation to hot-button smears.
Ballot access is crucial here in North Carolina, and it’s a civil rights issue as much as it is for LGBTIQ and people of color, as the Green Party actively spearheads these and other social justice issues! Justice only follows after equal rights to self-representation. The opposition will not hand us that right. They want to prevent us from self-representation. This is what we’re up against: extreme discrimination. But like the protesters who risk their lives to be seen and heard and speak truth to power, we must grow our numbers and put up a much better fight for minority rights this next election cycle.
This is not a social club. It’s fight or perish—powerless and in obscurity. Speak out, Greens! And when you do, whether you protest or write to your congressperson, or when you publish a letter to the editor (or even if it’s rejected), please get in touch with us and share your experience at [email protected]. We'll listen. We'll share your concerns and organize to ensure others listen, too. That’s the purpose of a political party that’s not beholden to the oligarchy; we exist to empower the individual. That power is granted by all of us joining together and making change happen. We hope to hear from you soon!
To that end, our newsletter needs input from North Carolina Greens! In the future, the newsletter will feature flexible content, including letters to the editor, as well as members' letters to the editor published in NC-based newspapers. Please submit yours. We're also interested in op-eds on the following subjects: NC politics; issues related to any of the Ten Key Values of the Green Party; events or actions for Greens to initiate or get involved in, innovative green projects, from home improvement to social justice; and more. Let’s all pitch in and make this newsletter our own!
Contact us at [email protected].
~ C.J. Sellers, editor
Editor: C.J. Sellers
Media Committee: Vice-chair Michael Trudeau, plus Sylvia Arthur and Forrest Hinton
Coordinating Committee: Co-chairs Tony Ndege and Jan Martell.
Contact us at [email protected] and [email protected].