Medea Benjamin

Date/Time
Date(s) - Sunday 11/20/2016
12:00 am - 2:00 am

Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the women-led peace group CODEPINK in Washington D.C., and author or editor of eight books including a new one about the Saudi-US relationship, will speak at The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy on Saturday, November 19 at 7 PM.

Benjamin and other CODEPINK activists are known for their ability to make media spectacle in settings from Presidential press conferences to Israeli settlements, challenging hypocrisy and silence.  Medea’s books and lectures question the legality and morality of US policies such as arms sales, torture, and drone warfare with its collateral civilian casualties.  Her latest book, Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.–Saudi Connection, will be on sale at the event.

Medea Benjamin is also co-founder of the human rights group Global Exchange. She has been an advocate for social justice for more than 40 years. Medea BenjaminDescribed as “one of America’s most committed — and most effective — fighters for human rights” by New York Newsday, and “one of the high profile leaders of the peace movement” by the Los Angeles Times, 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. She received numerous prizes, including: the Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Prize from the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Peace Prize by the US Peace Memorial, the Gandhi Peace Award, and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation Award. She is a former economist and nutritionist with the United Nations and World Health Organization.

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.

Kingdom of the Unjust book coverSince 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. She has organized many protests against the U.S. interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. Medea has also been on the forefront of the anti-drone movement. Her direct questioning of President Obama during his 2013 foreign policy address, as well as her trips to Pakistan and Yemen, helped shine a light on the innocent people killed by US drone strikes. She published Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control in 2013. She also organized the first-ever international drone summit and lead delegations to Pakistan and Yemen to meet with drone strike victims and family members of Guantanamo Bay prisoners. She wrote the forthcoming book Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection, and organized an international summit on Saudi Arabia in March 2016.

Medea Benjamin protest photoHer 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.

She recently wrote a book on Saudi Arabia and organized a Saudi Summit in March 2016. Benjamin is the author of nine books. Her articles appear regularly in outlets such as The Huffington Post, CommonDreams, Alternet, The Other Words, and TeleSUR.