MORE ABOUT CYNTHIA McKINNEY
Cynthia McKinney is an internationally renowned peace advocate and human rights activist. She began this
important work on day one of her political life and hasn’t looked back. With her opinions, actions, and even her
sense of style, McKinney has inspired both admiration and controversy.
In 1988, McKinney won a House seat in the Georgia Legislature against all odds. She was the first African-
American woman to represent Atlanta and Fulton County in an at-large district in Georgia’s history. She
became a household name when she challenged the state’s leadership to abide by the Voting Rights Act and
grant fair representation to all of Georgia’s residents, including the more than 30% who are of African descent.
She appealed directly to the United States Justice Department and won.
In 1991, speaking from the “well” of the Georgia House of Representatives, she made national headlines when
she challenged President George Herbert Walker Bush’s decision to make war against Iraq. Despite the
vilification by the state’s pro-war establishment, her voice for justice and peace was heard by the people.
In 1992, McKinney won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in a newly created district, drawn from
Atlanta to Savannah. Again, Cynthia made history by becoming the first African-American woman to represent
Georgia in the U.S. Congress. Cynthia voted against every war-funding bill put before her. During her tenure,
her district was re-drawn several times and re-numbered. McKinney protested the new boundaries, but was still
reelected to the seat until the pro-Israel Lobby targeted her because of her support for peace in Palestine. She
was a supporter of a Palestinian State in Israel-occupied territory; she sparked controversy by criticizing
American policy in the region at a time when few dared to speak out. After 11 September 2001, McKinney
stated that based on her readings, the President had received warnings and that the matter deserved
independent investigation. The criticism she received as a result, combined with being targeted by the pro-
Israel lobby, contributed to her defeat in the 2002 election; however, she ran for the seat again and was re-
elected in 2004.
Once again in Congress, McKinney was a vocal critic of the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina.
Cynthia pressed for government transparency and accountability and introduced legislation to release the
documents related to the murders of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Tupac Shakur. She was the first Member of
Congress to file Articles of Impeachment against President George W. Bush and Cynthia was forced out of
Congress once more in 2007 when she was targeted for defeat, again, by donations from pro-Israel contributors
that flooded into her opponent's campaign coffers. Late in 2007, Cynthia became a Green Party Presidential
Candidate. Cynthia won the Green Party nomination for U.S. President and in 2008 ran for President.
In December 2008, Cynthia made international headlines when the Free Gaza boat she was aboard was
rammed by the Israeli military as she was attempting to deliver medical supplies to the people of Gaza during
Israel's Operation Cast Lead. Cynthia and her fellow humanitarian activists, rescued by Lebanon, never made it
to Gaza. In 2009, Cynthia attempted to reach Gaza again, this time armed with crayons, coloring books, and
school supplies for the children. She and her fellow human rights workers became the Free Gaza 21 after their
boat was overtaken in international waters by the Israeli military and they were kidnapped to Israel. Cynthia
spent 7 days in an Israeli prison. Finally, Cynthia entered Gaza by land in July 2009 with George Galloway's
250-volunteer-strong Viva Palestina, USA.
As a rider and a member of the support team, Cynthia completed a cross-country bicycle ride with five other
Bike4Peace 2010 cyclists who started in California and ended in Washington, D.C., speaking to the American
people about the possibility of more peaceful US policies if enough of us are willing to participate in our own
positive, personal transformations. Cynthia had not been on a bicycle in twenty years and faced many personal
obstacles along the way. However, she met this challenge with her usual good humor and determination and by
the last day of the ride was able to complete over 65 miles on her bicycle.
In 2011, Cynthia led a DIGNITY Delegation of alternative and independent journalists to Libya while US and
NATO bombs, laced with poisons including depleted uranium, targeted civilian populations. She then edited
The Illegal War on Libya (Clarity Press, 2011). Afterward, she completed a successful 29-city peace tour in the
United States and Canada to promote a more peaceful U.S. foreign policy. Cynthia now travels the world
speaking out on human rights, nature’s rights, and peace while she completes her studies toward a Ph.D., She
holds an MA from Fletcher School of International Law and Diplomacy.