Lenora B. Fulani is a New York psychologist who also happens to be running for president. She is planning to lead ``10,000 marchers in a continuous demonstration against the Democratic Party'' at its presidential nominating convention (July 18-21) in Atlanta. Dr. Fulani says she is dissatisfied with the party's proposed platform.
``With all due respect to the Rev. Jesse Jackson, I would say the Democratic Party platform is not bland, as Jesse calls it,'' she says. ``Frankly, the platform is blunt! It bluntly rejects ... the black agenda. It bluntly rejects the just demands of the Palestinian people for an independent state. It bluntly ignores the peace movement's call for massive cuts in the military budget.''
She and her followers are scheduled to hold what they call their Fanny Lou Hamer Convention in Atlanta just preceding the nominating convention.
``We'll demonstrate in the streets for lesbian and gay rights and for the rights of the Indian people,'' Fulani says. ``We want a genuine people's platform. We don't need a businessman's convention. We need and will have a people's party convention.''
Fulani is only the second minor-party candidate ever to receive matching funds ($600,000 to date) from the Federal Election Commission. She says she will be the only third-party candidate on the ballot in all 50 states.
She was initiated into politics in 1984 as part of the Rev. Mr. Jackson's Rainbow Coalition. Two years later she ran on the National Alliance ticket for governor of New York.
``I'm an independent, but I'm a passionate supporter of Jackson all the way,'' she says. ``I feel too many people felt from within that Jesse couldn't win. I'm running now on the Rainbow Coalition platform....''
``Our goal is fair elections,'' Fulani says as she explains why she will march and speak outdoors, while the Democrats meet indoors. She says she aims to wipe out illiteracy, help farmers sell their crops, help small farmers, and develop jobs for every American.
``We want the Democrats to recognize Jesse Jackson, to give him a voice in party policies, to see him as a party regular, not an appendage,'' she says. ``The time has passed when Democrats can take the black vote for granted. The New Alliance Party gives voters an alternative to the two major parties.''
She is running for office under Lenora B. Fulani's Committee for Fair Elections. She hopes to introduce herself and her followers to the American public through marches and rallies during the Democratic convention.
Fulani says she plans to sign up the disgruntled Democratic delegates as they stalk out of the convention, which she says she expects them to do.
``I believe that the best way to improve the bargaining and lobbying strength of the people's movement is to vote for me Nov. 8,'' she says.
``I call on activists to join us in Atlanta July 18-21 to let the Democrats know that we are ready to cost the Democratic Party the election because the American people will no longer support a presidential candidate who doesn't support us,'' Fulani says.
The Democratic National Committee appears to be tolerant of the planned Fulani demonstration.
``We are aware of what the New Alliance Party is trying to do with this convention march,'' says spokeswoman Julie Anbender, ``but this is symbolic of what has happened at Democratic Party conventions through the years.''
Fulani, a native of Chester, Pa., lives in Manhattan and works from her office in Harlem.
A July 7 article misstated the role of independent presidential candidate Lenora Fulani regarding the Fanny Lou Hamer Convention this weekend in Atlanta. The convention is being held by Clergy and Laity Concerned, which has no connection with Ms. Fulani.