Monday, August 27, 2012

Green Party Jill Stein and VP / Co-op Business Day, July, 2012

About Jill Stein
Dr. Jill Stein is a mother, housewife, physician, longtime teacher of internal medicine, and pioneering environmental-health advocate.
She is the co-author of two widely-praised reports,  In Harm's Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development, published in 2000, andEnvironmental Threats to Healthy Aging, published in 2009.  The first of these  has been translated into four languages and is used worldwide. The reports promote green local economies, sustainable agriculture, clean power, and freedom from toxic threats.
Her "Healthy People, Healthy Planet" teaching program reveals the links between human health, climate security, and green economic revitalization. This body of work has been presented at government, public health and medical conferences, and has been used to improve public policy.
Jill began to advocate for the environment as a human health issue in 1998 when she realized that politicians were simply not acting to protect children from the toxic threats emerging from current science. She offered her services to parents, teachers, community groups and a native Americans group seeking to protect their communities from toxic exposure.
Jill has testified before numerous legislative panels as well as local and state governmental bodies. She played a key role in the effort to get the Massachusetts fish advisories updated to better protect women and children from mercury contamination, which can contribute to learning disabilities and attention deficits in children. She also helped lead the successful campaign to clean up the "Filthy Five" coal plants in Massachusetts, an effort that resulted in getting coal plant regulations signed into law that were the most protective around at that time. Her testimony on the effects of mercury and dioxin contamination from the burning of waste helped preserve the Massachusetts moratorium on new trash incinerator construction in the state. 
Jill has appeared as an environmental health expert on the Today Show20/20Fox News, and other programs. She was also a member of the national and Massachusetts boards of directors of the Physicians for Social Responsibility. Her efforts to protect public health has won her several awards including: Clean Water Action's "Not in Anyone's Backyard" Award, the Children's Health Hero" Award, and the Toxic Action Center's Citizen Award.  
Having witnessed the ability of big money to stop health protective policies on Beacon Hill, Jill became an advocate for campaign finance reform, and worked to help pass the Clean Election Law. This law was approved by the voters by a 2-1 margin, but was later repealed by the Massachusetts Legislature on an unrecorded voice vote.
In 2002 ADD activists in the Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party approached Dr. Stein and asked her to run for Governor of Massachusetts. Dr. Stein accepted, and began her first foray into electoral politics. She was widely credited with being the best informed and most credible candidate in the race.
She has twice been elected to town meeting in Lexington, Massachusetts. She is the founder and past co-chair of a local recycling committee appointed by the Lexington Board of Selectmen.
In 2003, Jill co-founded the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities, a non-profit organization that addresses a variety of issues that are important to the health and well-being of Massachusetts communities, including health care, local green economies, and grassroots democracy.
Jill represented the Green-Rainbow Party in two additional races – one for State Representative in 2004 and one for Secretary of State in 2006. In 2006 she won the votes of over 350,000 Massachusetts citizens – which represented the greatest vote total ever for a Green-Rainbow candidate.
In 2008, Jill helped formulate a "Secure Green Future" ballot initiative that called upon legislators to accelerate efforts to move the Massachusetts economy to renewable energy and make development of green jobs a priority. The measure won over 81 per cent of the vote in the 11 districts in which it was on the ballot.
Jill was born in Chicago and raised in suburban Highland Park, Illinois. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1973, and from Harvard Medical School in 1979. Jill enjoys writing and performing music, and enjoys long walks with her Great Dane, Bandita. Dr. Stein lives in Lexington with her husband, Richard Rohrer, also a physician. She has two sons, Ben and Noah, who have graduated from college in the past few years.
About Cheri Honkala
Cheri Honkala was born into poverty in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She grew up watching her mother suffer from domestic violence that she quietly endured for fear of losing her kids. At the age of 17 her 19 year old brother Mark, who suffered from mental health issues committed suicide. He was uninsured and could not afford to get the help he needed. At the time of Mark's suicide Cheri was a teenage mother living out of her car and going to high school. Despite her difficult upbringing she graduated high school.
Cheri and her son Mark (named after her brother) lived in and out of places eventually becoming homeless after the car they had been living in at the time was demolished by a drunk driver. Mark was 9 years old and Cheri could not find a shelter that would allow them to remain together that winter so in order to keep from freezing Cheri decided to move into an abandoned HUD home. She then began working to help other poor families and became a pioneer in the modern housing takeover movement. For the past 25 years Cheri Honkala has been a leading advocate for poor and homeless in America. She co-founded the Kensington Welfare Rights Union and the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign. She has organized tens of thousands holding marches, demonstrations and setting up tent cities.
Honkala was included in Philadelphia Magazine’s list of 100 Most Powerful Philadelphians and was named Philadelphia Weekly’s “Woman of the Year” in 1997. In 2001 Ms. Magazine also named Cheri Woman of the Year and she's since been the recipient of numerous awards including the Bread and Roses Human Rights Award, Public Citizen of the Year by the Pennsylvania Association of Social Workers, and the prestigious Letelier-Moffitt award from the Washington Institute for Policy Studies. In April 2005 Mother Jones magazine named her Hellraiser of the Month. Front Line Defenders has named Cheri one  of the 12 most endangered activists in America. 
Cheri is nationally and internationally respected for her anti-poverty work. Honoring the legacy Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Poor People's Campaign of 1967-68 Cheri inspires a new generation of leaders working to end poverty. In 2004 Cheri spoke at the World Social Forum in India. In 2000 at the Republican National Convention Cheri was a leader of a march of over 100,000 people and she also addressed 148 governments at the United Nations on poverty.
In 2011 as a result of the recent bank bailouts and near complete lack of support for the millions of struggling homeowners caught in the undertow of Wall Street's housing bubble Cheri became the first woman to run for Sheriff of Philadelphia and the first and only Sheriff candidate nationwide pledging to stop home foreclosures by the big banks. Running under the Green Party her platform was to "Keep Families in Their Homes",  A position that could finally force the banks back to the table with taxpayers and homeowners alike.To get on the ballot Cheri and her volunteers collected 4,300 signatures and on election day received over 10,000 votes in Philadelphia growing the Green Party, particularly in lower income neighborhoods.
Cheri's son Mark Webber is an actor and director. Cheri played herself in Explicit Ills, Mark Webber's drama about poverty in Philadelphia.
Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Zucchino chronicled Cheri Honkala and the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign for six months during 1996 in his book The Myth of the Welfare Queen which include Cheri organizing 70 homeless families taking over an abandoned church, setting up another homeless encampment in an abandoned lot, and getting arrested and charged for attempting to set up a tent city in front of the Liberty Bell. Honkala faced over 10 years in prison, as local law enforcement claimed she assaulted officers, however video footage later abosolved her of any crime. 
Since the mid 1990's Cheri has been extensively documented by photographer Harvey Finkle. Cheri was also photographed by photographer Richard Avedon's Democracy 2004 series, which appeared in the October 2004 edition of the New Yorker magazine.
Videos and Documentaries including Cheri Honkala:
Additional links and articles about Cheri Honkala:
Cooperatives show the way out of the crisis
Cooperatives have been more resilient to the global economic and jobs crisis than other sectors. The UN International Day of Cooperatives, which takes place this year on 7 July, offers a chance for cooperatives to reassert their position in the world economy. ILO News interviews Simel Esim, Chief of the ILO’s Cooperative Branch.
Analysis | 04 July 2012

Is the role that cooperatives play in the economy often underestimated?  /  Simel Esim: The economic contribution of cooperatives, although substantial, is often undervalued, and sometimes completely ignored. /   The top 300 cooperatives in the world in terms of turnover exceed US$1.6 trillion, more than the GDP of Canada. In Argentina, 58 per cent of rural electricity in 2005 was provided by cooperatives. In Colombia, Saludcoop, a health cooperative, provides health care services for 15.5 per cent of the population.   /  In Japan, 9.1 million family farmers are members of cooperatives who provide 257,000 jobs. In India, the needs of 67 per cent of rural households are covered by cooperatives, and in Switzerland, the largest retailers and largest private employer is a cooperative. How prominent is the role of cooperatives in the international banking system?  / Simel Esim: Some of the largest banks in the world, including the Dutch Rabobank, Crédit Agricole and Crédit Mutuel in France and DG Bank in Germany, are cooperatives. In Europe alone, there are 4,200 local cooperative banks, around 60,000 branches and a market share of 20 per cent. In France, for example, 75 per cent of farmers are members of at least one agricultural co-operative MEC, while co-operative banks handle 60 per cent of retail banking operations. KUSCCO, a cooperative Bank in Kenya, is the fourth largest in the country with a capital of US$180 million.
§  Serve 1 billion members worldwide
§  Financial cooperatives serve over 857 million people – 13 per cent of the world population.
§  Provide 100 million jobs around the globe
§  Ensure the livelihoods of 50 per cent of the world’s population
§  Produce 50 per cent of global agriculture output
§  The top 300 cooperatives generate USD 1.6 trillion

Have cooperatives been more resilient to the crisis? / Simel Esim: Available evidence suggests that cooperative enterprises across sectors and regions are proving to be relatively more resilient to the current market shocks than their capital-centred counterparts.   /  Financial cooperatives remain financially sound; consumer cooperatives are reporting increased turnover; and worker cooperatives are seeing growth as people choose the cooperative form of enterprise to respond to new economic realities.  / To give you an example: While European co-operative banks have 21 per cent of the market share, they only accounted for 7 per cent of all the European banking industry’s write-downs and losses between the third quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2011.  /  Even in the current context of recession, the ILO has noted an increase of cooperative start-ups – especially savings and credit cooperatives or credit unions, which contribute to employment creation around the globe. How do you explain the resilience of cooperatives?   / Simel Esim: Although they might have been less profitable than other financial institutions before, the profitability of cooperative banks went up during the crisis. Cooperative banks are more risk-averse and less driven by the need to make profits for investors and bonuses for managers.  /  In comparison to private banks, savings and credit cooperatives tend not to freeze credit, have lower increases in interest rates and are generally more stable due to lending practices. Cooperative banks stayed close to the roots of the banking system and the real economy. This made them more resilient to the global economic turmoil. How can we ensure the promotion of cooperatives?  / Simel Esim: Successful cooperative promotion requires a consistent, clear, realistic and long-term cooperative development policy in line with national priorities. These policies need to recognize the economic and social importance, autonomy and distinctive identity of cooperatives.  /  Policy makers need to ensure a level playing field between customer-owned banking institutions and investor-owned banks, and the need to ensure that new banking regulations do not disadvantage the sector. They must also ensure current laws and administrative practices (registration procedures, taxation policies, accounting standards, etc.) do not hinder the development and growth of cooperatives.  / And without cooperative credit, it will be even harder to keep or create the jobs needed and to ensure establishments stay afloat. 
'Cooperative enterprises build a better world' - Statement by ILO Director-General
Message by Juan Somavia, Director-General of the ILO, on the occasion of the 90th ICA International Co-operative Day and the 18th UN International Day of Cooperatives.
Statement | 06 July 2012
As we celebrate this International Day of Cooperatives in the UN International Year of Cooperatives, the ILO salutes cooperators and their organizations around the world.

Cooperatives are engines of economic growth offering a dynamic and flexible business model in production, marketing and service delivery. Globally, about 1 billion women and men are involved in cooperatives which generate some 100 million jobs. The three hundred largest cooperatives generated revenues of 1.6 trillion dollars in 2008, operating in diverse sectors, including in agriculture, finance, consumer, insurance and health sectors. At the same time, cooperatives also give the smallest of operators the opportunity to improve their output and income.

Guided by the compass of social justice, cooperatives are vehicles for promoting decent work and decent lives for all. As democratic, value-driven and locally-controlled organizations, they foster social inclusion. Organization brings strength and the organization and solidarity of the cooperative movement have been highly effective in enabling disadvantaged groups to gain voice, mobilize to pursue their economic interests and to secure social protection. Indigenous people, refugees, migrants, women in rural and urban areas, unemployed persons, the elderly, and the disabled have all found possibilities for social and economic participation and advancement through cooperative action and enterprise.

Rooted in the people and communities they serve, cooperatives are well-placed to serve as guardians of the environment and the conservation of ecosystems for the benefit of future generations. Agricultural and other rural cooperatives can play a key role in preventing ecosystem degradation and assuring food security.

In sum, cooperatives have a key role to play in the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development. And the recent Rio+20 Summit reaffirmed the role of cooperatives in contributing to social inclusion and poverty reduction.

Clearly, with such an approach, cooperative enterprises are helping build a better world. Yet to thrive fully, they also need a supportive environment and the ILO’s Promotion of Cooperatives Recommendation (R.193), celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, provides sound guidance on creating such an environment. I urge all who wish to translate the cooperative ideal into action to make good use of this Recommendation.

The resilience of cooperatives, including in times of crisis, testifies to the sustainability and adaptability of the cooperative enterprise. Today, in confronting the widespread and growing income inequality, unemployment, underemployment and social exclusion that have been the corollary of prevailing inefficient patterns of growth, cooperative ideals and action are much needed.

As we celebrate this Day, the ILO reaffirms its commitment to its long-standing collaboration with the cooperative movement. Let us all join forces to help cooperatives build a better world – a world with social justice.

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