This years Annual National Meeting [ANM] was held in Salt Lake City, Utah July 19th-July 22nd . Which so happens to be the home of one of my dear Green Party friends Deanna Taylor and her husband Tom King, who put me up for the time I was in Utah. For those who have not been to Utah, it is a massive open flat space that runs right up to the bottom of these massive mountains that frame it in. Quite grand compared to our New England mountains.
Thursday July 19th
After a day of workshops, the opening day ceremony was held after the introductions of all of the Green candidates who were in attendance, with a blessing by Carl Moore, who is a Hopi. Then Chase Iron Eyes of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe spoke. Then I introduced Dawn Neptune, who some of you know, of the Penobscot Nation from Maine. Dawn introduced the film “Dawnland” that was filmed here in Maine around the Walbanaki REACH TRC [Truth and Reconciliation Council]. There were also many members of local tribes who had been invited in attendance.
To me this was the first ANM that connected the Green Party to the Indigenous people of the land we live on and my heart soared with the happiness that bringing this Party together with the people of this earth brings us closer to finding hope for the seventh generation and where we should have been all those centuries ago learning to live as one with the earth. And set the tone for the whole ANM.
Friday July 20th
For me, Friday started with a workshop done by Chase Iron Eyes, who I was fortunate enough to have had a long conversation with later that day. Followed by a workshop with Jill Stein and David Cobb on her 2016 campaign. I also attended a workshop with Jill Stein and members of GPAX [the national Peace Committee] There were many other workshops going on that. Perhaps Justin Beth and Dawn Neptune will share about the ones they attended. I was also staying with the host of the ANM so was spending time helping where I could and of course trying to keep up with my e-mails.
Saturday July 21st
Saturday was the Plenary day. Where some of our great candidates spoke, we had an Anti-Oppression panel discussion, A Ballot Access panel, a Standing Rock to Palestine: Linking Our Movements in the Target Hairs of Empire panel. Then we broke out into Caucus Meetings. I went to the Women’s Caucus meeting. After dinner we had the GPUS Fundraiser and Talent Show, where Justin Beth players a mean Sax! And we raised the most money we have ever raised at an ANM!
Sunday July 22nd
This was the final day and we did a Presidential Campaign Debrief with Jill Stein & David Cobb and an Election Database discussion. This was the end of the ANM, but it was the beginning of the Women’s Caucus Retreat that was held on the side of one of those beautiful mountains in a chalet!
The Women’s Caucus Retreat July 22nd and 23rd
Sunday July 22nd
We had lunch at the ANM and carpooled to the chalet where we held a meeting till 5:30PM when Deanna’s husband Tom made us dinner. After dinner we took a walk around a local lake where we took group pictures and saw 2 moose. Some spent the night at the chalet, but I went back with Deanna and Tom, who live close by.
Monday July 23rd
We drove back up to the chalet to have breakfast and visit with everyone. Then we went out to lunch. Some folks had to go to the airport for flights and those of us left went to the “Best Friend’s Adoption Center” [Best Friends is an amazing animal center in Utah that cares for animals] to give them some checks from the Green Party Women’s Caucus and some other Greens. Then we left from there and went to see Salt Lake. Three of us spent that night with Deanna and Tom who took us very early to catch our flights in the morning.
It is my hope that some day the Maine Greens will be to a place where we can host an ANM. For meeting the people from all over the US doing the good work of this Party is one of the things that gives me the strength to continue this hard but rewarding work. I missed those of you who usually attend and were unable to make it this year. And the sadness of returning to the loss of Morgen D’Arc. One of the things that are different from the Dems and the Reps is when you are in the Green Party you are family!