An interview with Theresa Anderson, candidate for Oakland City Council
Why have you joined the Green Party?
I joined the Green Party because I liked their progressive alliance, and the platform they stood for. I like their policies. Democrats and Republicans have made a mess of what we have today. Something different and refreshing is inviting, and that’s why I joined.
What do you think are the most pressing issues of the country?
I believe our most pressing issues are with our youth, the police, and the high rate of joblessness. I feel like we need to meet our youth where they are in order to get them to where they need to be. And it wouldn’t take much for us to start implementing policy or programs for our youth to give them something to do. Something small and easy could be to start off with a turf dance program*, where they would go and do their dances, and that way we could develop and form relationships with them, and we can take it from there to help them with the needs that they have. I feel like we need to implement policy to control the police. We need a panel that has the power to discipline the police and oversee what they do here, and how they work.
What do you think the Green Party should focus on?
I think they should focus on housing the homeless, and on implementing a minimum-wage policy nationwide. We need transparency for our budgets so that people can understand it more. I think that we should also work on banning the box nationwide. Banning the box means this: once people from our prison system have done their time and paid their debt to society, that box on job applications that asks if you’ve been arrested—that box should be taken off of those applications. It will give these people an equal chance with everyone else to find employment, which will help them stay out of jail and become productive citizens.
What do you think Greens can do to enhance diversity within the party and in general?
I believe that to enhance diversity, once again you need to meet people where they are. Everyone in every culture is different, and they have different needs. To do that, you need to meet them where they are in order to understand where they need to be.
With what race or culture do you identify?
I would want to say that I would mostly identify with the African-American culture because that’s what I am: African-American. But deep down inside, I identify with all races, because I don’t see color.
Could you please give a brief bio of yourself?
I’m a 50-year-old woman. I’ve lived in Oakland all my life. I worked for attorney John Burris for five or six years. After going to school and getting a business degree, I started my own company, Dandell Entertainment. I’ve been really active in the last 11 years, in my community in the North Oakland area: advocating, mediating, and being a liaison for my community to help them with a lot of the problems they have in life—just everyday problems. You can help them and make a big difference just by doing that.
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* Note: Turf dance is a form of art developing in Oakland and other cities across the US.