- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Another “tea party” is planned for Washington, but this one won’t traipse through the National Black Family Reunion. A nonpartisan, nonprofit called Truth About Green plans to hold the nation’s first “green tea party” on Saturday to discuss such environmental issues as climate change. Featured speakers will include documentarians Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer, whose “Not Evil, Just Wrong” is a rebuttal to Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” and country music is in the lineup, too.

Organizers say it’s a party with a purpose for all Americans.

“We want to create venues where we can have a good time and talk about important issues,” said Truth About Green co-founder Nancy Sabater. “All Americans need to be better informed about the potentially life-changing decisions our politicians could make.”

The green tea party will be held in Lafayette Park, across from the White House, and it is a stand-alone event - or at least as stand-alone as event-goers can get in one of America’s most popular protest venues.

Participants in the Sept. 12 “tea party” protest at the Mall poured into the annual National Black Family Reunion, where families were celebrating life and the importance of standing united against socioeconomic odds. There was no confrontation.

“We were having the black family reunion celebration on the Mall and hundreds of them came through,” said Dorothy I. Height, president emeritus of the organization that sponsors the reunion, the National Council of Negro Women. “If I hadn’t seen it I would not believe that they would have Uncle Sam with a blackface, or that they would have signs saying, ‘Barack Get Off My Back.’ They were so disrespectful in every way. It was very clear that they used the opportunity to also express their racial feelings. I’m not saying every one of them did, but certainly those that I saw - all had signs that really were disrespectful of the president of the United States, but also showed racial feelings. There is no question about it.

“We let them go on through,” said Miss Height, one of the dignitaries who attended the Obama inauguration. “We had no encounters with them, but we were disturbed to see the nature and the anger that so many of them had - the flags that they were carrying and the signs that they were carrying. … I think this really speaks for the fact that racism is not gone, but I’m glad to say that it’s a small fringe of people. Overall, Americans have had a different attitude or Obama never would have been elected.”

Civil rights activist Lawrence Guyot, a native of Mississippi and original member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, said a struggle against racism is continuing.

“For the next eight years, I would expect [President Obama] to do nothing on the question of race,” Mr. Guyot said. “However, we elected him president and not king. I think there is a need for a fight against racism in America. Otherwise, America will be redefined before our very eyes.”

He said using the race card to distill Democrats’ or the Obama administration’s policies quiets “post-racial balderdash.”

“The only good thing … is that it has dismantled forever the post-racial balderdash that was started by a lot of young, professional blacks who say we no longer have to deal with racism,” said Mr. Guyot, who with the SNCC helped organize the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Hate is not the answer, he said.

“We can stand silent and watch it,” he said, “or we can organize. We can’t out hate them, but we can certainly out organize them.”

Organizers of the green tea party said Americans need to know the truth about lawmakers, and their Saturday event in Lafayette Park will be educational.

“We didn’t feel enough was being done to educate everyday, ordinary Americans about the other side of the global warming debate,” said Ms. Sabater. “The biggest issue next to health care is ‘cap-and-tax,’ but hardly anyone knows what it is or just what it will mean for the average person. Before we impose all these costly regulations, it’s important to have all the facts - and to have more common sense about what we’re doing.”

*Joseph Young is a writer living in the District.

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