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Bigger than hip-hop: Green Party VP candidate Rosa Clemente on musical activism

from the San Antonio Current

“I think it’s huge,” says Chang about Clemente’s VP nod. “The Green Party has been stereotyped as being a party of nice, older, white people in Birkenstocks and Patagonia, but they made a huge leap this year into the future. The other parties have put forth women candidates and candidates of color, but the Greens chose two unapologetic women of color for the top of the ticket. Rosa was an important choice because her ability to bring together urban issues and green causes represents a potential paradigm shift for both the Green Party and the progressive movement as a whole. In the past, environmentalists and racial-justice activists have often found it difficult to speak to each other. I think Rosa could potentially forge a powerful bridge.”

Rosa describes her vision for America as one based on social justice. Everyone would have a living wage, affordable housing, and free health care. All immigrants would be granted amnesty. There would be no death penalty, and prisons would no longer be built. While some may argue that is a utopian vision of the future, Clemente, through 15 years of community organizing, says she knows how to transform these ideas into reality. Clemente and McKinney’s campaign represents the first all-women-of-color ticket in U.S. politics, yet she says the silence regarding their landmark nomination and the outright criticism of their progressive policies is disheartening.

“I don’t think there’s an issue that the hip-hop generation puts out there, that we’re not supporting,” states Clemente. “We support the right to gay marriage, unlike Senator Obama and Senator McCain who have come out against that. … That’s why Cynthia McKinney brought me in. I’m committed to every issue that we’ve been talking about for the last 10 years as critically important to our generation.”

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