This past weekend the Libertarian Party held its annual Freedom Fest in Las Vegas. Reason Magazine has published a series of short interviews with attendees a la Humans of New York. Among them is Larry Sharpe, who recently announced his run for New York Governor on the LP ticket. (Sharpe, part of the”bleeding heart libertarians,” contingent came in second behind Bill Weld in his bid to run for VP with Gary Johnson in the 2016 presidential election.).
Sharpe is adopted, and he is not happy with sealed records. Here is what he says:
“I’m adopted. When I was born in 1968, New York state, being the progressive state it is, wouldn’t allow you to be adopted unless you had the right racial match. Since I was biracial, they had to find a biracial family. That was the law back then.
New York, again the progressive state that it is, would not allow me to find my parents because, well, because. We fought many times, lost every time. The judges kept saying, ‘We made a promise to those people and we can’t break it.’ It was 50 years ago and we now know genetics matter in health. So this is now life and death. And you think some promise to someone 50 years ago matters? What is wrong with you?… When I’m governor I’m going to change that.”
Of course, Sharpe is being critiqued on:
- 1290:OK, I think he get it now. First he was talking about the old racial rules. Then he went on another tangent about how his birth parents are still protected by anonymity and he wants to overturn that policy so he can find out who they are.
- Ice Trey: He knows his parents, they adopted him.
Back in Bastard Nation’s early days, Founding Foundling Diana Inch attended a Minnesota Libertarian Party meet-up, and within days (or was it hours?) an OBC access plank was added to the state platform. That is the last time I’ve seen any small or “large L” commentary on what has always seemed to me to be a libertarian issue.
The New York Greens are also running adoptee equality candidates in New York City this year. Our friend, LDA adoptee James Lane, is once more running for NYC Public Advocate, the second most powerful political position in NYC government. (Read here and here (message from Ron Morgan) about his 2013 campaign). Back then he placed third and received nearly 18,000 votes. In 2016 James ran for Congress against Republican candidate Dan Donovan who was the District Attorney that failed to indict anyone in the killing of Eric Garner. Adoptee equality has been a cornerstone of James’ campaigns and in August 2016 the Greens added an adoption records plank to its platform that includes:
- Immediate and direct access to all identifying birth, hospital, foster care and adoption agency records and files concerning the adult adoptee (including the original adoption plans and any contracts that pertain to the adoptee or in which they are mentioned) to assist with researching their genealogy, medical history and the truth regarding the circumstances surrounding their adoptions and, if applicable, their time in foster care.
- Strict financial penalties need to be enforced when birth/adoption records have been lost or destroyed while under the care of agencies, hospitals, lawyers, etc. that have assumed the responsibility of storing these vital records.
- Full reparations for historical injustices in adoption.
Electrical engineer Akeem Browder is running for mayor.of New York City. He was adopted out of foster care. He is the older brother of Kalief Browder, who at the age of 16 was charged with stealing a backpack and spent over 1000 days at Rikers awaiting trial before he was finally released with charges dropped. He later committed suicide. (See Spike TV The Kalief Browder Story). Aleem is President and Founder of The Kalief Browder Foundation and founder of the Campaign to Shut Down Riker;s Island. He has lobbied successfully to improve criminal justice sentencing and programs in New York. I don;t have much information on his adoption but hope to soon.
Between now and November, I intend to talk to and write about each candidate in more detail.