I had the great opportunity to attend the Global Greens & European Greens joint congress in Liverpool from the 30th of March to the 1st of April. The Congress goes for one additional day, yet I will not attend it that day.
I met people from all around the world. Fiji, Belgium, Kenya, Argentina, Canada, Russia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, you name it. It is, after all, a Global Greens Congress. This was also the largest gathering of Greens ever, bringing together delegates, party leaders, and members of the grassroots from every corner of the world. The Green Party is a family, unlike the climate and the vibe I observed from the duopoly in the United States. Not only are we an alternative to the far-right parties and leaders coming to power around the world; we are a moral imperative. We have what it takes to save the planet, to restore justice, to preserve peace, to ensure prosperity for every single one of us, and to guarantee fairness at every level of government and society.
I am 17 years old as I write this, probably making me the youngest person to attend the Congress at my own volition. I did see some younger children, but of course, they did not go because they desired to but because they had to accompany their parents. It surprised people when they learned of my true age; I look older than I am, due to my physical features, my dress, and my demeanor.
I attended to parallel sessions (one of the Global Young Greens, another of the Young Greens of the Americas) on the first day. I also had the opportunity to meet 2016 presidential nominee of the Green Party of the United states, Dr. Jill Stein, chat with her for about five or seven minutes, and have a picture taken with her. I have met her briefly before last October in Austin, attending a speech of hers. I took a selfie with her then, but of course, I could not expect her to remember that. I reintroduced myself, and we had a nice little conversation. I also told her my plans to seek the 2036 nomination for president of the United States of the Green Party. It seems I made a good impression.
On the second and third day, I attended only plenaries, no parallel sessions. The highlight of the second day was the speech delivered by co-leaders of the Green Party of England and Wales, Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley. It was a wonderful and inspiring tweet. Later, there was also a plenary with leader of the Australian Green Party and member of the Senate, Richard Di Natale, and leader of the Canadian Green Party and member of Parliament Elizabeth May.
Today, I saw Dr. Stein again and wanted to talk with her again but did not get the chance to, as just as I took a picture for a group of other Congress attendees, she left. I suppose I was a bit too eager. I spent most of my three days at the Arena and Convention Centre, the venue of the Congress. My grandparents from Germany accompanied me on this trip; I am grateful for them for allowing this all to happen. My parents remain in the US; I will return on Tuesday.
I have met so many people and started friendships. I connected with people over social media and learned new things at the plenaries. I saw prominent party leaders and members of governments, such as Swedish Deputy PM Isabella Lövin, whose speech was phenomenal, MEP Molly Scott Cato, and others. I really loved seeing the presentations of parties from around the world and interacting with them. Japan, Korea, Egypt, Greece, New Zealand, Brazil, etc. They came from anywhere and everywhere.
I am, more than ever, sure of my political identity. I am a Green. It is imperative that we stand up boldly here and now for our planet, for our human rights, for democracy, and for basic compassion and respect. Frankly, I have not seen this sense of family from any other party. I cannot generalize and make assumptions. But I know what I felt. I know what this is all about. In a time of Brexit, a time of Trump, a time of Le Pen, a time of far-right leaders hijacking our governments and taking advantage of our fears and anxieties, not actually helping us and making the situation any better, it is quite important to examine the positions of the Greens and contemplate, ask yourself, are you happy with your political identity right now?