By Amanda Cipriano
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer
Green Party Vice Presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka spoke to an intimate group at Morgan State University Wednesday night and talked about how the Black Lives Matter movement is an integral part of his campaign and how activism like this is needed to reform America.
“What’s being raised by the movement are questions that go to the heart of what this country is supposed to be about,” Baraka said.
Baraka said Black Lives Matter has drawn needed attention to racial inequality in the United States and has exposed the unfairness in the American criminal justice system.
“My assessment of violence is that it is an essential part of the colonial part of this country,” Baraka said. “Death and violence is how this state was established. We are going to have to alter the state and alter the way it’s organized in order to have real social justice.”
The Green Party is a political organization that fights for social change and believes in peace over violence, social justice and grassroots democracy. Baraka said the party is committed to providing an alternative to the Democrats and Republicans.
He said the party wants to change the economy, the environment and the way equality is recognized in the United States.
“If we got elected, it would reflect that there’s a fundamental change in this country,” said Baraka, who is running with the party’s presidential candidate, Jill Stein of Massachusetts. “We would recognize and tell you that if we got elected, that wouldn’t be the end point of this campaign; it would be the beginning.”
Polls show that about 2.7 percent of voters support Stein, who is running against Democrat Hillary Clinton, Republican Donald Trump, Libertarian Gary Johnson and several other third-party candidates.
Throughout his discussion, Baraka emphasized social movements and how they can be effective in changing America. Baraka said the balance of power could be shifted from the elite to the people.
Baraka said that reparations are also needed to create a better country.
Baraka said he and Stein plan to change the economy by creating jobs and raising the federal minimum wage to a living wage.
He also said he wants to work towards saving the environment and being kinder to “Mother Earth.” His work influences social change and equality among all.
“The only way we’re going to really bring about a decent and humane society is when we transcend capitalism and begin to move towards socialism,” Baraka said.
Baraka referred to himself as a revolutionary, adding that he speaks his mind and doesn’t sugar coat his statements.
Addressing the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees, Baraka said that their power in the system is overbearing and limiting independent parties from succeeding.
“The question we have to raise in 2016 is when do we draw a line in the sand and say that what we have to do now is build a progressive alternative political power?” Baraka said. “2016 is the year to draw that line and say that we are not going to allow fear to undermine our principles.”
Baraka encouraged students to fight for social justice and change in their own lives. He said that if young people were to vote, there could be an opportunity to make a concrete change in the way the nation is run.
“We’re not going to have real social justice until we have the full participation and equality among all people,” Baraka said.
The Green Party was the first political party to produce an all female and all black ticket for a presidential campaign.