Monday, September 26, 2011

US Green Party mourns Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Kenyan Green Party founder‏


For Immediate Release:
Monday, September 26, 2011

Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614,
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805,

US Greens mourn Dr. Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Kenyan
Green Party founder and leader

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Green Party of the United States is mourning the
passing of Dr. Wangari Maathai and celebrating the life of the 2004
Nobel Peace Prize laureate and founder of the Mazingira Green Party
and the Green Belt Movement ( in

In 2002, Dr. Maathai was elected to the Kenyan Parliament on the Green
Party ticket in the first free elections held in the country in
decades and later appointed Kenyan Deputy Environment Minister. She
was a close friend to Greens in the US and throughout the world and in
May 2008 hosted an Global Greens conference in Nairobi

Dr. Maathai and the women-based Green Belt Movement, which planted
more than 30 million trees, received numerous awards, including the
Petra Kelly Prize for Environment, named for the founder of the first
Green Party in Germany. The first environmentalist and first African
woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, she was jailed in 1991 for
working to stop deforestation in Kenya.

African Greens (Coalition of Green Parties and political movements in
Africa) released this statement today:

• Theresa El-Amin, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States:
"I heard Dr. Maathai speak at Meredith College in Raleigh, North
Carolina, two years ago. Her influence was reflected on the campus
with the planting of four trees in her honor. She was beautiful in
her African dress as she told wonderful stories of her childhood and
the awakening she experienced on how all life is interdependent.
Several members of the North Carolina Green Party, along with students
from all over the state, attended the special lecture."

• Marian Douglas-Ungaro, co-chair of the International Committee
(, member of the Green Party Black
Caucus (, and DC Statehood
Green: "I was in contact with Dr. Maathai when I lived in Kenya,
2001-2004. Almost everyday I drove past the Greenbelt Movement
billboard in the Muthaiga neighborhood that inspired people to action.
Black Greens will continue to work to encourage many more African and
Afrodescendant women, men, and youth to continue the social and
environmental work which Dr. Maathai both started and inspired."

• Morgen D'Arc, co-founder of the Green Party National Women's Caucus
(, recalling Dr. Maathai's
2002 visit to Maine as featured speaker for the Maine Green
Independent Party: "At the time, I was working statewide with Women in
Green Politics, an organization I had founded the year before. Dr.
Maathai opened my eyes. Her courage, determination, focus on women,
poverty and the environment, what she had accomplished and at the same
time her gentleness, patience and warmth really reached me. The
inspiration I gained from Dr. Maathai's visit was with me for years,
as I first co-founded and then organized and led the National Women's
Caucus. When I learned yesterday that she was gone, it was as if a
gaping hole opened in front of me. It's just way too soon. She will
not be forgotten and will no doubt continue to inspire many, as she
did me."

• Thomas Muhammad, co-chair of the Green Party Black Caucus: "The
Green Party Black Caucus joins the whole world, particularly African
Greens, in their loss of such a giant sister like Wangari Maathai.
Her words should serve as a wake up call for all political parties the
world over. She said, 'As long as there is no trust and confidence
that there will be justice and fairness in resource distribution,
political positioning will remain more important than service.' We
will miss you deeply, soft-spoken sister."

• Greg Gerritt, Green Party of Rhode Island and International
Committee member: "Dr Maathai's work on the reforestation of Africa
has ben one of the more hopeful activities on the planet, a key to
both ecological and economic revival."

• Audrey Clement, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States and
candidate for Arlington County Board in Virginia
( "Women around the world are bereft of
a great leader in Wangari Maathai. In drawing a connection between
the environment and the power and rights of women throughout the
world, Dr. Maathai altered the way we think about both. Wangari
Maathai will be remembered as a visionary leader, like Rachel Carson,
whose actions saved our planet."

• John Rensenbrink, Maine Green Independent Party and International
Committee member: "Wangari Maathai was our keynote speaker at the
Bowdoin College conference in February 2002 on Race, Justice, and the
Environment. Having organized that three-day conference connecting
social justice, race, and ecology, I was bowled over by her magic and
warmth, her natural eloguence, and her powerful commitment to a new
way to live on this earth. The day after the conference she stayed to
address a special meeting of the the Maine Green Independent Party and
thrilled everyone. And when, a few years later, she was awarded the
Nobel Peace Price, I lost track of her but was told by those who knew
her that she received her fame with poise and humor, threw herself
into the often dangerous pit of Kenya politics, and continued to speak
out and act for the land, the trees, and for justice. She is sorely

• Dr. Wangari Maathai, 1992: “We have come a long way from ignorance
to deep insight, from fear to courage and from the streets to
Parliament. We moved from self to others, from 'my issue' to 'our
issues', from home to communities, from national level to global. Now
we embrace the concepts of our common home and future." ("Wangari
Maathai’s quotable quotes," Agence France Presse, September 26, 2011,


Green Party of the United States
• Green candidate database and campaign information:
• News Center
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"Wangari Maathai, Founder of the Kenyan Green Party, Wins Nobel Peace Prize"
Green Party press release, October 9, 2004

"Press Misses Big Story, As Green Party Member Beats Bush and Blair --
for the Nobel Peace Prize"
Green Party press release, October 19, 2004

Press conferences, forums, and other events at the Green Party's 2011
Annual National Meeting in Alfred, NY, broadcast and archived on the
Green Party's Livestream Channel
• 2011 Annual National Meeting

Green Pages: The official publication of record of the Green Party of
the United States (Summer 2011 issue now online)

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