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
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
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