“We are way more powerful when we turn to each other and not on each other, when we celebrate our diversity, focus on our commonality, and together tear down the mighty walls of injustice.”
Cynthia McKinney is an outspoken leader for peace, human rights, and justice. As a result of questioning her congressional colleagues about the lack of full investigation after September 11 attacks, a retaliatory campaign successfully unseated her for one term, but in 2004 she was easily reelected. In her first term, she got legislation passed to extend health benefits for Vietnam War veteran victims of Agent Orange and sponsored legislation to end the use of depleted-uranium weapons. As a ranking member of the Human Rights Subcommittee, she prompted the UN to investigate the Rwanda genocide.
Cynthia McKinney was born in Atlanta, the daughter of former Georgia state representative Bill McKinney, one of Atlanta’s first black law enforcement officers. She received a bachelor of arts in international relations from the University of Southern California and an master of arts in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy; she is working toward a PhD at the University of California, Berkeley. When Cynthia, then a member of the Georgia house of representatives, spoke on the floor against the US bombing of Baghdad in 1991, her colleagues were so offended they walked out on her. By contrast, women civic leaders were so inspired they asked her to run for congress. Her successful bid allowed her to continue her fight against US military policy. Cynthia used her ten years in congress to support her Georgian constituents and a larger, worldwide public. She hosted the first delegation of Afro-Latinos from Central and South America and worked with the World Bank and the US state department to recognize Afro-Latinos. She stood with Aboriginals against Australian mining companies and with the U’wa people of Columbia in their fight to save their land from oil rigs. For the farmers of Georgia, she brought hundreds of millions of dollars in the form of an Enterprise Community grant. Cynthia worked with the chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee to strengthen the budget for homeless veterans and to protect the Atlanta Regional Veterans Affairs Hospital. Many overlooked veterans received medals because of her work. When she was defeated in 2002, Cynthia had begun to look into the treatment of women members of the Armed Services.
US Congress Committee on Armed Services Committee on the Budget
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