Articles & Op-Eds

Honoring Congresswoman Barbara Lee During Black History Month

February 10, 2015

Here at Girl Scouts, we firmly believe that girls can’t be what they can’t see. That’s especially true for young girls of color, who don’t always have the opportunity to see women of color taking on leadership positions on a larger scale. Today, we’re honoring Congresswoman Barbara Lee: a lawmaker, defender of the poor, and Girl Scout alumna. Though Lee and her younger sister were the only two African American girls in their El Paso, Texas Girl Scout troop, this didn’t stop them from bui… Continue Reading

Attorney General Holder Visits Oakland to Build Community Trust

February 06, 2015

Congresswoman Barbara Lee welcomed Attorney General Eric Holder to Oakland Thursday for a roundtable discussion around building trust between the community and law enforcement. The conversation, held in the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building, included U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California Melinda Haag, Mayor Libby Schaaf, Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent and faith and youth leaders. The roundtable was part of Holder’s nationwide effort to “build trust where it never ex… Continue Reading

Bipartisan, Bicameral Group Introduces Cuba Travel Bill

January 28, 2015

In the House of Representatives, Congressman Mark Sanford (SC-01) and Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02) will introduce on Monday the “Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015.” It is the companion bill to its Senate counterpart introduced today by Jeff Flake (AZ) and Patrick Leahy (VT). The bill simply removes the travel ban to Cuba that has been in place for more than 50 years. Doing so is important because President Obama’s lifting of the travel ban might last only for the remaining 23 months o… Continue Reading

Rep Barbara Lee: 'Bad' trade deals 'wreak havoc' on minorities

January 20, 2015

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that trade deals that outsource American jobs "wreak havoc" on minorities. Lee's comments in a brief House floor speech came after President Obama urged Congress to give him trade promotion authority, which many Democrats oppose. "When jobs are shipped overseas because of bad trade deals, communities of color bear a huge brunt on the loss of those jobs," Lee said. Lee claimed that minorities who lost their jobs still encountered hardship, as the… Continue Reading

Lee: Celebrate King by Working for Equality

January 19, 2015

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, is calling on Americans to work for an equal America as the nation celebrates the birthday of the late Martin Luther King Jr. Lee said in a statement:“Each year, we commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and recommit ourselves to realizing his dream of equality and justice for all.” Lee said when she thinks about King’s work she is reminded of a speech he gave at Stanford University in 1967. King said there are two Americas, Lee … Continue Reading

Officials Reflect on Race, December Protests at City Council Meeting

January 17, 2015

In the aftermath of protests over police killings of black civilians, local officials and residents discussed a wide variety of topics that ranged from the improvement of police and community relations to broader social issues at a five-hour-long City Council meeting Saturday morning. Dozens of educators, community members and elected officials — along with a panel of experts, including Berkeley Technology Academy rincipal Sheila Quintana and Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson — gathered … Continue Reading

Jean-Pierre Gorges, French Parliament's Lone Voice for Peace

January 14, 2015

I know little to nothing about Jean-Pierre Gorges, other than that he is a member of the French National Assembly and that he alone, out of 502 lawmakers, voted against expanding France's participation in the US-led war against Islamic State militants. On Tuesday, the French parliament voted 488-1, with 13 abstentions, to increase airstrikes targeting IS fighters in Syria and Iraq in the wake of last week's Islamist terrorist attacks that left 17 people, including 10 staff members of the sati… Continue Reading

Barbara Lee on US war in Syria and Iraq

January 13, 2015

KPFA Weekend News Anchor Cameron Jones: Earlier this week, the U.S. Air Force website reported a record number of bombs assembled and dropped on ISIS during the past three months. Ammo troops, it said, meaning troops that build bombs in an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, are looking to break new records. Their senior commander said, “In the last three months we have already built over nine times the amount of munitions that the last rotation did in their entire six [months].” KPFA’s A… Continue Reading

My Word: People of Oakland should help to close Guantanamo

January 09, 2015

Last summer, the House Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2015 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, containing a section that explicitly prohibits the use of funds for the transfer or release of Guantnamo Bay detainees. Several days prior, the House version of the Defense Appropriations Act passed with similar provisions, while amendments from Reps. Jim Moran and Alan Grayson to speed up or place deadlines on prisoner trials were easily defeated along partisan lines. It … Continue Reading

Congresswoman Lee Named “Most Valuable House Member” in The Nation’s 2014 Honor Roll

December 30, 2014

The Nation, the oldest continuously published weekly magazine in the United States, has named Congresswoman Barbara Lee the “Most Valuable House Member” calling her a “full-spectrum advocate for peace, civil rights, civil liberties and economic justice.” “It is with a sense of humility that I thank The Nation’s for the tremendous honor of being named the ‘most valuable House Member’ in its 2014 Honor Roll,” said Congresswoman Lee. “From ensuring economic justice and fairness to securing globa… Continue Reading

Lone Opponent of Afghanistan War Feels Vindicated

December 25, 2014

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) was the lone 'no' vote in Congress against the war in Afghanistan in 2001, voting against an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) shortly after the 9/11 attacks. At the time, she came under attack for being unpatriotic, even receiving death threats. Today, she feels vindicated. "When I voted 'no,' I said it was a blank check and would set the stage for perpetual war, and that's what it's done," she said in a recent interview with The Hill. "I think me… Continue Reading

The Nation's 2014 Progressive Honor Roll

December 21, 2014

This last year was a tough one, with too many setbacks and too many reasons for justified anger. Yet we also saw inspired activism and the renewal of a movement-based politics of protest. There were stalwarts who battled economic inequality and racial injustice, who developed new ideas and new strategies. They deserve recognition—not as the only heroes of 2014, but as examples of what progressives can accomplish even in difficult times, and of what they will accomplish in the years to come. Here… Continue Reading

How Barbara Lee’s 30-year Cuba Campaign Paid Off

December 20, 2014

The April 9, 2009, memo has a simple title: “Reflections by Comrade Fidel.” In it, the Cuban leader documents a meeting at his Havana home with East Bay Rep. Barbara Lee, a woman he lauded for great “political courage” as the then-leader of the Congressional Black Caucus, and for more than two decades an activist for normalizing relations with the island nation. Lee and her delegation met that day for five hours with President Raul Castro in the first face-to-face session between U.S. lawm… Continue Reading

We're at a turning point on HIV/AIDS

December 01, 2014

By Barbara Lee and Kenneth Cole (CNN) -- Last year on World AIDS Day, President Barack Obama said that we can achieve an AIDS-free generation "if we stay focused, and if we keep fighting," and challenged the world to "come together to set new goals" in the war against AIDS. Three decades into the epidemic, important headway has been made thanks to ambitious efforts by the U.S. government to end AIDS here and abroad. The National HIV/AIDS Strategy, released in 2010, is the nation's first co… Continue Reading

Voting to Authorize War

November 22, 2014

To the Editor: Re “Congress Must Act on War Authority” (editorial, Nov. 19): I am glad that The Times has joined my longstanding call for a constitutionally required debate and vote. Now, after four months of American bombing, Congress is poised to support another $5.6 billion and the deployment of another 1,500 American servicemen and women to the Mideast. In 2001, I was the lone vote in Congress against the Authorization for Use of Military Force, because it was a blank check for endl… Continue Reading

INVEST in Our Veterans and Our Energy Future

November 11, 2014

Each Veterans Day, our nation pauses to salute the service of our brave servicemen and women who fought for our nation, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 1.8 million veterans call California home. Nearly 50,000 veterans live in the Congressional districts that we serve; it is an honor and privilege to represent them in Congress. Thanks to strategic investments to create and preserve good-paying jobs, the national unemployme… Continue Reading

Stephen Colbert and Rep. Barbara Lee show why most TV interviews don’t involve doing the wave

November 06, 2014

"God, that's a question I can't even answer because it's so stupid." "You are crazy." "You are out of your head. Yup. Yeaaah. I'm positive." California's 13th was the latest focus of the Colbert Report's "Better Know a District" on Wednesday night, and Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee went on the show to discuss Oakland and the most notable moment in her political career — being the lone dissenting vote against the Authorization for Use of Military Force after 9/11. The above quotes were abo… Continue Reading

Celebrate Civil Rights on November 4th

October 31, 2014

Earlier this month the Supreme Court launched another in a series of attacks on the voting rights of all Americans. The court allowed Texas’s controversial new voter ID law to stand, a decision that will restrict the voices of African Americans, Latinos, seniors, the poor and students. Since the Supreme Court overturned a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in the Shelby case, there has been a systematic and coordinated effort to impose restrictive and discriminatory laws an… Continue Reading

American Weapons End Up in Islamic State's Hands

October 21, 2014

Throughout the three-plus years of the Syrian civil war, one oft-sung refrain among some American officials has been that arming Syrian moderates (whoever they may be) is a dicey proposition because the weapons "could fall into the wrong hands." Despite these objections, the United States eventually sent military aid to the Free Syrian Army last year. The policy change was precipitated by Syrian dictator Bashar Assad's violation of the Obama administration's "red line" after the regime used c… Continue Reading

Would a Surgeon General Help in Ebola Response?

October 20, 2014

Washington (CNN) -- As newly picked Ebola czar Ron Klain gets started, some are wondering if America could also use a new surgeon general. As Republicans criticize the Obama administration's appointment of Klain, Democrats are intensifying their push for a vote on the delayed nomination of Dr. Vivek Murthy for surgeon general. "Given the public's increasing fears regarding the spread of the disease, it is imperative that we confirm a Surgeon General who will play a significant role in educ… Continue Reading

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