Mary Rooker - Recording Secretary, GPUS National Committee Delegate
Occupation Shamanic practitioner
Education BA, UMassAmherst, Latin American Studies; Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate Program, Cornell University.
Community Involvement (list any experience in your community)
- Member, Board of the Takoma Park Silver Spring Food Co-op; worked to ensure a living wage policy and increase access to local, organic foods.
- Member, Climate Action Coffee group (Takoma Park)
- Member, Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition
- Member and lay leader, Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, Adelphi, MD; my focus has been the anti-racism work and food sustainability, with an emphasis on helping others shift to a plant-based diet.
- Member, Safe Grow, which secured a new law in Takoma Park restricting the use of pesticides, herbicides, and other lawn chemicals
- Testified before the Takoma Park City Council and the Montgomery County Council repeatedly over numerous local issues for many years
Why are you interested in serving the MGP in this capacity? Please list relevant experience, if any.
I want to lend a hand toward an MGP that is (1) emotionally functional, can disagree without fighting or attacking; (2) organized, has support and structures in place so that work gets done in a timely, easy way. Then we can put the “fun” in “functional” and support our locals in growing. I’ve been working in my current capacity as co-chair to do just this. Before that, I served as a Montgomery County local delegate to the MGP-CC since 2017.
How long have you been involved in the Green Party and in what capacity? What activism, volunteer, or professional experiences have you had with the Green Party, either at the local, state, or national level?
I’ve been active in the Green Party locally since shortly after our founding in 2000, and have been active at the MGP state level since 2017, have served as an MGP delegate to the GPUS Animal Rights Committee since 2017 and as an MGP delegate to the GPUS National Committee since November 2021. I’ve been a member of the GPUS Lavender Caucus and Women’s Caucus since early 2021.
Why is the Green Party in general and the Maryland Green Party in particular important to you?
The Green Party is Who I Am. I love who we are together and all that we stand for and bring to the collective. Maryland has been my home since 1965. I know the MGP has had its struggles, and I am committed to seeing us through to the other side of that.
What is your favorite Pillar and why?
My favorite Pillar is Grassroots Democracy, because without it, we cannot attain our other pillars of peace, ecology, and justice.
What is your favorite of the 10 Key Values and why? Sigh, so hard to pick just one! I’d say Feminism and Gender Equity. Yes, I’ve been out queer since my early teens (1965), have worked for alternative pronouns since the 1980s (glad they finally took hold!), and am agender/non-binary. I have given workshops in going beyond sex role stereotypes and gender stereotypes since 1995. Also, my first political activism in the 1970s was the National Organization for Women, so feminist movement is where I began. My chapter, Southern Prince George’s County, was dyke-friendly and among the more radical NOW chapters.
Describe your experience with grassroots organizing.
I helped found the Takoma Park GP local and was active in it for many years. In 2005-2005, I was one of 6 Greens who did all the legwork to ensure that the City of Takoma Park passed a petition (won by 83%) and ordinance for Ranked Choice Voting. This included door-hangers throughout the city, speaking at local venues, and staffing the entrance to the polling station on election day. I’ve done phone-banking with the MGP and, of course, many years of tabling. I was central to the creation of most of the early literature we used.
Why are diversity and equity important to you, and how do these principles show up in your life?
I believe that diversity is just as important in human interactions as it is in biological ecosystems! Equity, restorative justice, and reparations are key to a healthy body politic and to democracy. They show up in my life in obvious ways with my anti-racism work at church, at my work in the GPUS Lavender Caucus and Women’s Caucus, and on the Animal Rights Committee. These principles also show up in less obvious ways in my shamanic teachings, which help my students connect the dots between deep social justice and spirituality.
What else would you like to share or want us to know about you?
I have a shamanic healing and teaching practice that is another venue for my “political” activism, as I work to bring about “The Great Turning,” a massive societal paradigm shift to a truly sustainable and equitable way of being in the world.
In 2011, I had my backyard converted to an all native plants mini-food forest for wildlife habitat and ecosystem restoration.
And, I love to sing and dance and drum.