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Date: Thu, 16 Jan 2003 15:29:11 -0500
Subject: Nomination for Profile in Courage Award
January 16, 2003
The Profile in Courage Award Committee
John F. Kennedy Library Foundation
Boston, Massachusetts 02125
I would like to nominate former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney for the Profiles in Courage award. I feel that she not only meets your criteria but surpasses them. Her courage in addressing issues of social justice and international relations, as well as civil and human rights also, in my view, cost her the seat in Congress. Yet she would not yield.
I know of many issues where she took a courageous and principled stand, but I was personally familiar with two areas:
I worked with Rep. McKinney and her staff to create a "Braintrust" panel at the annual national Congressional Black Caucus conference on the new evidence that has emerged in the last few years on the truth about the murder of Dr. King and the innocence of James Earl Ray. At a time when others were aware of the evidence and the outcome of the King family's civil suit which exonerated Ray and pointed the finger to elements of the US government, Rep. McKinney alone did not remain silent, but continued to try to hold government accountable for their actions. She also helped to draft a bill, introduced in the last Congress, to release all government records on the life and death of Dr. King. These records will reveal the extent of spying and confrontation aimed at Dr. King by all branches of the intelligence and police systems, and at the civil rights movement as a whole. In a time when the COINTELPRO excesses are being openly renewed by the Justice Department, this history is crucial for our understanding. Her position was not a popular one with the whole Congress, who had earlier refused to include Dr. King in the JFK Assassination Records Act to release files on that murder. But Rep. McKinney stood on principle, not popularity, as Dr. King hemself had advised.
Questions Surrounding 9/11.
Rep. McKinney was the first member of Congress to ask obvious questions about the attack on September 11, 2001, which remain unanswered still. These concerned foreknowledge or the lack of it by US intelligence agencies and White House officials, the lack of military response during the attack, and who benefitted from the aftermath. She was greeted with scorn and calumny for leading on this issue, even though the Congress and the press began to raise these same questions a few weeks later without receiving the rancor accorded to her. Again, she persisted and refused to apologize for asking the obvious. Rep. McKinney called for an open investigaion on behalf of the victims, their families and the American public. This is the role of the Congress, yet they have not fulfilled it to date. This issue, and her stand on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict seem to have been the triggers for a concerted, nationally funded effort, led by Gov. Zell Miller in Georgia, to oust her from office.
I think Rep. McKinney deserves this award more so than other elected officials because she tried to serve as a real "representative" of the people of Georgia and the US, asking the hard questions, and persisting in the face of adversity and defamation of her character. I hope you will take this nomination seriously and consider her merits.
PO Box 7147
Washington, DC 20044
Washington Peace Center
Coalition on Political Assassinations