Baraka, as Jill Stein’s running mate, has focused on prison and sentencing reform, police-civilian relations and civil rights. He has called for “international oversight” of police killings of civilians, as well as a U.S. Department of Justice investigation. Baraka stirred controversy by calling President Barack Obama an “Uncle Tom president” after Obama condemned the Ferguson, Missouri, riots after Michael Brown was killed. Baraka further called Obama “a moral disaster” and one of “the worst things that has happened to African-American people” because, he said, black issues have been ignored. He has derided the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders — supporters of whom Stein has tried to court — as “media-driven pseudo-opposition.”
Baraka, 63, grew up in Chicago, received a graduate degree from Clark Atlanta University, served in the Army during the Vietnam War and has been involved in human rights issues since. A former Amnesty International volunteer, he has served on the boards of Amnesty International (USA), the Center for Constitutional Rights, Africa Action, and the Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights. In 1998, he was honored by the United Nations for his work to oppose the death penalty. He was a founding executive director of the U.S. Human Rights Network and coordinator of the U.S.-based Black Left Unity Network’s Committee on International Affairs.