by Kimberly Phillips
September 26, 2019, was no ordinary day for me. I was about to meet Howie Hawkins, Green Party 2020 presidential candidate.
Talk about being nervous, I sat at the bar and ordered a gin and tonic. Howie was right on time, so I got up from the bar and introduced myself. It was noisy, so we headed outside to the patio area. Before he could even sit, I told him he was a breath of fresh air, and gave me hope. I knew he didn’t want to run for president, no more than I wanted to be an activist. There were folks like Bruce Dixon and Ajamu Baraka who he couldn’t let down, just as I couldn’t let my son AJ down. I was honest with Howie, how I’ve only recently become politically conscious. I never paid attention to policy and voted for the lesser of two evils. A lost sheep, following sheepdogs. I was lucky my friend and colleague David Samuels took me under his wing, and I hope to meet him one day.
When I told Howie how the Democrats blocked police accountability legislation by watering it down, he said the Democrats are afraid of the police. Translation: the Democrats protect the police, not the people. Unacceptable, this underscores the need for an independent third political party. We need solutions. Howie’s race-conscious policies address race-conscious injuries. These policies include an eco-socialist Green New Deal and community control of the police. I told Howie he already has my vote; my soul won’t allow me to vote for a party that knowingly abuses people with their neoliberal, genocidal policies.
I shared my experience filing complaints about my son’s 2015 murder by San Jose police officers with the FBI and DOJ. I went to the FBI San Francisco Field Office, in March of 2016. Howie said that was under the Obama DOJ, now it’s Trump’s. I also sent a copy to the DOJ in Washington, D.C. in 2016. Later that year, after finding my son’s blood spatter, I went to the San Jose FBI resident agency, only to be told they weren’t investigating. I told Howie how I was flipping the pictures saying, “you are going to look me in my face, and ask me to lose all common sense and logic, because you choose to be corrupt, you got me messed up”. I explained that I wasn’t thinking about the FBI’s role in the deaths of Martin Luther King, Fred Hampton and Malcolm X. I was filing the TRUTH because it’s morally right, I am a witness, and his mother! I was trying to appeal to their conscience. They had none; my restraining order came shortly after.
Howie talked about Trump’s blatant racism, how he told police at an event “don’t be so nice”, referring to banging people’s heads while placing them in a police car. Officers cheered. I explained to Howie that there’s no detective, federal agent, judge or anyone for that matter who can tell me anything! Not even Trump! They all know my son’s death wasn’t a suicide, it was a lynching, and a cover-up.
We talked about so many issues, like the ban on fracking, social and economic inequality, the nuclear arms race, and the urgency to address climate change. It was time to head to the event with the Santa Clara County, California Greens. I told him that I was paying for dinner because I wanted to keep the receipt. Bragging rights that I took the future President of the United States out to dinner, part of my memoir.