AFRICA's DAUGHTERS RISING
Political Action Committee
Name: Gloria Estela La Riva
Office you are seeking: Governor of California
Phone number: 415-826-4828; fax: 415-821-5782
1) How have your past experiences/activities supported the missions of ADRPAC?
I have been a long-time activist, over 21 years, in struggles and issues concerning working people, and especially against racism and sexism and for full rights of the lesbian and gay community. Since my university days at Brandeis University, class of 1976, and as a beneficiary of affirmative action, I realized that community action is the moving force in affecting real change. I was very busy in school fighting to defend our affirmative action gains, in the Third World Coalition, of African-American, Latino, Asian, and Native students. I moved to Rochester N.Y., where I became involved in helping defend Imani Harris, a political prisoner who was on death row in Atmore-Holman prison in Alabama (1976).
I have been involved in numerous struggles, from fighting for lower utility rates and against heat shut-offs by Rochester Gas and Electric to helping organize against the nazis and Ku Klux Klan in Chicago (1980), Buffalo (1981), Oroville, California (1982).
In San Francisco during the mid-1980s as an organizer in the All-Peoples Congress I was coordinator of our campaign to build public and union support for the Black Firefighters Association of S.F., who had won an historic consent decree, only after many years of extremely difficult struggle on the part of the African-American Firefighters.
I have been a strong supporter of the African National Congress, and attended my first anti-apartheid protest in Rochester in 1977. In San Francisco, I was one of the founders of the Southern Africa Freedom Committee of APC, and one of our first actions was to build demonstrations in support of the Black gold and diamond miners in South Africa. Also, when Linda Ronstadt went on national tour in the U.S. in 1983, and she had just performed in Sun City, thus violating the cultural
boycott of South Africa, our group held a three-day protest at her concert at the Orpheum Theater. After other groups in the U.S. picked up on the protests, she finally apologized to the ANC and promised not to break the boycott again. I was one of the principal organizers of that protest. I have been active in the anti-apartheid movement for many years.
On other international issues, I have coordinated projects to help put an end to the U.S. blockade of Cuba, and have traveled to that country several times.
I was one of the convenors of the San Francisco 25th anniversary march and rally commemorating the 1963 Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" march on Washington.
There are many issues that I have been active in, reproductive rights for women, and especially for the right of poor women to health care access regardless of ability to pay, for comparable worth, and equal rights in general. When I was 23, I led a union-organizing drive of an all-woman workforce at the Fairport Shopping News near Rochester, New York. It was a very difficult fight for a union, but one in which I learned so much about unity. We won the union-recognition election, but
we were fired the next day for our union activity. However, none of the women involved ever regretted our union organizing activity.
As a Chicana who grew up poor, I experienced racism and poverty growing up in New Mexico, and I am strongly commited to opposing discrimination and oppression of all forms.
I was a co-founder of the Farmworkers Emergency Relief Committee, which raised donations to send 6 caravans of food to hundreds of Mexican farmworkers in the Central Valley in 1991, who had lost their jobs as a result of the natural disaster (the citrus freeze). Our group also succeeded in launching a lawsuit against FEMA for its discriminatory practices against the farmworkers.
During the 1989 earthquake, the All-Peoples Congress, helped get financial aid from Red Cross and FEMA to the African-American and Latino families, who'd been denied earthquake relief aid. I was one of the organizers. I was strongly involved in the San Francisco campaign to stop the building of the new baseball stadium.
I think all my years in the movement certainly qualify me as governor. I will reverse the policy of scapegoating immigrants by Pete Wilson and other politicians, I will work to see that the issues that led to the Rebellion in Los Angeles in 1992, police brutality, unemployment, racism, will be seriously addressed with massive jobs programs and affirmative action, more state funding for schools. The previous administrations of Deukmejian and Wilson have served the wealthy and big corporations to the detriment of the vast majority of Californians. I believe it takes a resolute activist like myself who is more than willing to wage a struggle against the major corporations, so that they are responsible for providing health care for their workers, and to contribute to the social and economic well-being of the state.
2) How is your commitment to the goals held by ADRPAC any greater/more significant than that of your opponents?
I think I have shown my consistent commitment to ADRPAC's goals, by my work and views, which have not changed over the years. I am a socialist who believes that our main problem facing all working people is the lack of jobs and employment opportunity. The lack of jobs is what underlies all the social crises for our communities, especially African-American, Latino, and other communities of color.
My opponents do not address the real issues, of the need for jobs, of the need to raise taxes on the rich. Instead they scapegoat the poor, immigrants, women on welfare, African-American and Latino youth. The other gubernatorial candidates differ very little from each other on their willingness to build prisons and push for more repressive laws. The California prison population has grown from 26,000 in the late 1979 to 119,000, and crime has not abated. The main cause of crime is the locking out of youth from decent-paying jobs or a good education, the cause of crime is the lack of jobs.
I have always believed in affirmative action goals and in quotas, because only by enforced affirmative action, will the corporations and universities be forced to comply. There are too many people of color and women who are denied the right to opportunities because of blatant racism and sexism.
I am not backed by major corporations as my opponents are, because I represent the interests of working people and unions. For too long working people have been held hostage that we must make sacrifices so that the corporations stay in operation. What has taken place is sacrifice after sacrifice by the poor, and the rich are getting richer, and wanting even more.
3) Once elected, how do you intend to empower women of African descent?
In order for any society to be just, the political system put in place to protect the people must reflect the customs of that people and meet their needs. In American society, models of Eurocentric, capitalist and sexist thought systems dominate. Consequently, the economic empowerment of the ruling class is ensured while the needs of the masses is surplused with poverty.
The lowest rung on the ladder of U.S. society consists of African-American women. Race, class and genders discrimination are the forms of oppression that most heavily affect African-American women. That is why educating the masses is one of the most important components of my campaign. Our young people need more schools.
It would be my job as Governor of California to make sure that in addition to opening more schools for our youth, organizations and universities to be fully funded for programs that allow African-American women to have the information they need to recognize the degree of their oppression and overcome it. It is essential that African-American women be recognized and promoted as political leaders of their struggle.
My administration would be strongly represented by African-American, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, women, lesbian and gay, by youth. These would not be token appointments, every commission, every department would be well-represented by women of African descent and other people of color.
Most of all, I would immediately reverse the anti-worker, racist, sexist policies and attitude of the previous administrations. I would continue my campaign of empowering the people, by exposing the truth, of how much has been given away to the corporations and wealthy of this state. As one example, the hysterical campaign that Wilson built against women on welfare, trying to deny them even a minimal subsistence, is one of the cruelest scapegoating lies, blaming them for the budget deficit.
As Governor I would demand an incomparably superior healthcare system for everyone, especially women. I support the Single-Payer Healthcare Initiative. I would also demand an end to job discrimination on the basis of race and gender, and I would heavily penalize corporations which carry out such illegal acts. I would make it my business to ensure that poor people not be penalized because they happen to be poor.
The American model of a family comes in many ranges with varying value systems. The extended family is just as important as the nuclear family. As Governor it would be my responsibility to economically and politically empower poor people and women, by changing the concepts drawn by the Eurocentric model to include and value the human model as it is represented by the so many diverse communities in the United States.
4) How would you handle a conflict in which one of the goals of ADRPAC conflicted with the goals of one of your strongest constituents/supporters?
My constituency is working people of California, especially those of us who are under-represented, disenfranchised in the political process, people of color. My priority has always been in opposing racist policies. Sometimes there are conflicts that arise between groups and constituents who have similar interests and ideas, who are generally not in conflict.
Let's take for example, a struggle in a construction project in Los Angeles or San Francisco, where the construction union on a job-site is picketed by African-American and Latino youth who want jobs. My position would be to support the youth, but to demand that the unions open their ranks to African-American and Latino people, especially youth and women. I am a strong supporter of unions because I believe they provide us protection and more unity against the company, but I also know that there have been problems of racism among some unions that are historically white- and male-dominated and that definitely has to change.
But as I said, my constituencies are not the corporate rulers, or others who would make demands or raise issues that conflict with ADRPAC.
5) What other individuals or organizations are supporting you?
I am the candidate of Peace and Freedom Party of California, I am running unopposed in the June ballot. It is still early to have gotten endorsements but I am supported by many individuals throughout the state. There is a lot of support for my candidacy because it represents a real alternative to the Democrats and Republicans, who are falling over each other to see who can show toughness on crime, immigrants, etc.
6) What organizations have you been a member of within the past ten years?
I am an activist in All-Peoples Congress, Workers World Party, the Bay Area Typographical Union 21, International Peace for Cuba Appeal. I am also a member of Latin American Congress for Labor Advancement (LCLAA).
7) Who is your campaign manager?
8) Who is your campaign treasurer?
The following questions will be held confidentially by ADRPAC
1) How much money have you raised to date?
We are just beginning to raise funds.
2) How much money do you anticipate will be necessary for your campaign?
Knowing that millions are raised by the Democrat and Republican candidates for governor, my expected funds nowhere match their sources or amount, but all my staff and supporters are volunteer, several are full-time, and we get much more per dollar than the other candidates. In addition, we will be having to fight for equal access to the media. I hope you can help me in that regard, by letting your contacts know that I am an official candidate for governor. Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to address you.
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