Former Black Panther Party leader, noted author, community and prison justice activist Elaine Brown announced this week that she intends to seek the Green Party¹s nomination for a presidential bid in 2008. "The 2006 elections signified a mass rejection of Bush¹s policies--not a shift to the Democrats. We have arrived at a powerful moment when the majority of the country is seeking a political alternative, toward embracing progressive values and realizing a progressive agenda. I haven¹t seen this potential since the 1960s."
Brown, who ran as a Green in the 2005 Brunswick, Georgia, mayoral election where Republicans succeeded in illegally removing her name from both the ballot and the voter roll, intends to run on a platform that addresses the interests of poor and working families, in terms of living wages, free healthcare, decent housing and increased funding for public education and higher education; ending the war in Iraq; restoring the environment and bringing about economic parity. Strategically, she intends to target non-voters, specifically women under 30 and African Americans, constituencies she believes are not represented by the nearly identical agendas of the Democrat and Republican parties, stating these crucial constituencies "have the power to build up an alternative party to truly challenge the status quo."
"I believe I have the ability to raise consciousness among disaffected and disenfranchised poor and working people, women and blacks, to galvanize them to vote for a real second party. Such a broadening of the Green Party base will allow us to start winning big time, at the state level and nationally, so that we can overturn some of the most egregious policies and laws (like the three strikes crime bill which has so devastated black communities) and introduce progressive legislation. There are a lot of great community organizations working for change, performing Sisyphean tasks that cannot address the fundamental problems. I believe the time is right to use the ballot to make the kinds of changes we know must be made to serve the people we represent."
Brown stated she is running as a Green because: "Not only does the Green Party support reparations for slavery, but the party¹s ten key values represent the values and interests of poor and working people. Only the Green Party offers clear positions on the needs of the people, in terms of a living wage, decent housing, food, education, and medical care. The Democrats and Republicans offer black and poor people nothing."
When asked what she hopes to achieve with her run, Brown said: "I know the party can earn a significant increase in votes and membership, which will increase our viability to take congressional seats, state house seats, and local offices; so that we can really start changing the way government operates."
Meet Elaine Brown:
Elaine Brown is a former leading member of the Black Panther Party and author of A Taste of Power and The Condemnation of Little B.-- A Taste of Power, Brown’s memoir, is being developed for film production by Suzanne de Passe, Emmy-award winning president of de Passe Entertainment. --Elaine Brown is a former leading member of the Black Pan
In 1996, after living six years in France, Brown moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where she established the nonprofit education corporation Fields of Flowers to build a comprehensive model education center for black and other poor children.
Brown is Executive Director of the Michael Lewis Legal Defense Committee, organized to support the legal appeal of Lewis (“Little B”), who, arrested at the age of 13 for a murder he did not commit, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison (1997).
Brown, who twice ran for public office as a member of the Black Panther Party, recently moved to Brunswick, Georgia, to run for mayor, toward creating a base of economic power for the city’s majority black and poor population through redistribution of the massive revenues of the city’s powerful port.
Brown is a co-founder and Board member of the National Alliance for Radical Prison Reform, an organization primarily composed of former prisoners and family members and friends of prisoners, the goals of which are to repeal the harsh criminal laws of the U.S., advocate for human rights for prisoners, and provide re-entry programs for former prisoners.
In addition, Brown is a member of the Geechee Council of Georgia; chair of the Economic Development Committee of the Brunswick, Georgia, NAACP; Vice President of The Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation; and a partner in Seize the Time, Inc.
Brown lectures at colleges and universities throughout the country on “New Age Racism” and realization of the vision of eliminating racism, gender oppression and class disparity toward an inclusive and egalitarian world society.
Brown, a fluent French speaker, has traveled extensively throughout the world, both on behalf of the Black Panther Party and independently, from China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, Algeria to France. Italy, Russia, Argentina, Uruguay, and elsewhere.
Brown, who studied classical piano for years and recorded two albums of her original songs, one for Motown records, has attended Temple University, UCLA, Mills College and Southwestern University School of Law.
The mother of one adult daughter, Brown grew up in the ghettos of North Philadelphia. Brown’s papers have been acquired by Emory University.