Green Festival Speakers
Medea Benjamin is a cofounder of both CODEPINK and the international human rights organization Global Exchange. She has been an advocate for social justice for more than 30 years. Described as "one of America’s most committed -- and most effective -- fighters for human rights" by New York Newsday, and called "one of the high profile leaders of the peace movement" by the Los Angeles Times, Medea has distinguished herself as an eloquent and energetic figure in the progressive movement. In 2005 she was one of 1,000 exemplary women from 140 countries nominated to receive the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the millions of women who do the essential work of peace worldwide. In 2010 she received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Prize from the Fellowship of Reconciliation.
Since the September 11, 2001 tragedy, Medea has been working to promote a U.S. foreign policy that would respect human rights and gain us allies instead of contributing to violence and undermining our international reputation. In 2000, she was a Green Party candidate for the California Senate. During the 1990s, Medea focused her efforts on tackling the problem of unfair trade as promoted by the World Trade Organization. Widely credited as the woman who brought Nike to its knees and helped place the issue of sweatshops on the national agenda, Medea was a key player in the campaign that won a $20 million settlement from 27 US clothing retailers for the use of sweatshop labor in Saipan. She also pushed Starbucks and other companies to start carrying fair trade coffee.
Her work for justice in Israel/Palestine includes taking numerous delegations to Gaza after the 2008 Israeli invasion, organizing the Gaza Freedom March in 2010, participating in the Freedom Flotillas and opposing the policies of the Israel lobby group AIPAC. In 2011 she was in Tahrir Square during the Egyptian uprising and In 2012 she was part of a human rights delegation to Bahrain in support of democracy activists; she was tear-gassed, arrested and deported by the Bahraini government. A former economist and nutritionist with the United Nations and World Health Organization, Benjamin is the author/editor of eight books. Her latest book is called Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control, and she has been campaigning to get lethal drones out of the hands of the CIA. Her articles appear regularly in outlets such as The Huffington Post, CommonDreams, Alternet and OpEd News.