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Cynthia McKinney speaks at MLK tribute

The Sophian: Speakers pay tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.

The organizations – Friends of the Congo and the Youth Action Coalition, a Massachusetts community development organization that focuses on art outreach -invited presenters from fields concerned with social justice and equality. Cynthia McKinney, peace activist, former congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate in 2008, was keynote speaker of the benefit. [emphasis added}

Criticizing Obama’s unwillingness to be divisive, Page said, “It’s not about what issues you stand for, but what you are willing to do to speak up, to take risks. Who are you willing to confront in the name of social justice?” On that note, he extolled the keynote speaker.

Back in 2006, McKinney was the first member of Congress to file articles of impeachment against Bush, and is notorious for opening and aggressively pursuing other controversial discourses.

Just back from a peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, McKinney had arrived after the slated ending of the event due to delays at the Logan International Airport caused by the problematic array of countries stamped into her passport. She did not apologize for her lateness, confessing, “I honestly don’t think I was supposed to be here right now.”

McKinney relayed how, after serendipitously neglecting to travel to a Free Gaza event that would have been held in Gaza the day the Israeli bombing started, she and a slew of humanitarian workers and journalists heading to the Gaza strip in a small aid boat were repeatedly rammed in the middle of the night by an Israeli warship that issued no other communication.

Explaining how Karl Penhaul, a CNN journalist onboard the ship, had to argue repeatedly with CNN headquarters in order to report the event, McKinney implied that barriers to balanced reportage of Israeli activities by the U.S. media were by no means limited to this example.

However, she saw positive change as a result of the travesty in Gaza. “Because of worldwide protests, now a space has been opened where we can talk about U.S. policy in Israel – this space had not existed before. The Israeli war machine exists because of the U.S. war machine. Perhaps we can really, finally organize a movement for peace and justice – finally.”

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