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Marianne Deborah Williamson (born July 8, 1952)[1] is an American author, lecturer, and activist. She has written 13 books,[2] including four New York Times number one bestsellers within the 'Advice, How To and Miscellaneous' category.[3][4][5][6] She is the founder of Project Angel Food, a volunteer food delivery program that serves home-bound people with AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses.[7] She is also the co-founder of the Peace Alliance, a nonprofit grassroots education and advocacy organization supporting peace-building projects.[8]

Marianne Williamson
Marianne Williamson - 33252886458 (cropped).jpg
Williamson in February 2019
Personal details
Born
Marianne Deborah Williamson

(1952-07-08) July 8, 1952 (age 66)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Independent (2014)
Children1
EducationPomona College
Signature

In 2014, as an independent, Williamson ran unsuccessfully for the seat of California's 33rd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives elections in California. On January 29, 2019, she announced her campaign to seek the Democratic nomination for the 2020 United States presidential election.[9]

Contents

Early life and educationEdit

Williamson was born in Houston, Texas, in 1952.[10][11][12] She is the youngest of three children of Samuel "Sam" Williamson, an immigration lawyer,[12][13] and Sophie Ann (Kaplan), a homemaker.[14][15] Her family is Jewish.[13] After graduating from Houston's Bellaire High School, Williamson spent two years studying theater and philosophy at Pomona College in Claremont, California.[14]

Writing and speaking careerEdit

Williamson dropped out of college her junior year in 1973 and moved to New York City, intending to pursue a career as a cabaret singer.[14][13]

In 1979, after delving into A Course in Miracles, she returned to Houston, where she ran a combination metaphysical bookstore and coffeeshop.[14][16]

In 1983 she moved to Los Angeles. She began regularly lecturing on A Course in Miracles in Los Angeles and New York City, and eventually in other cities in the U.S. and Europe as well.[16][17]

She published her first book, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles, in 1992.

BooksEdit

Williamson's first book, A Return To Love, was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1992 and remained on The New York Times bestseller list for 39 weeks in the 'Advice, How To and Miscellaneous' category.[18] She has published 12 other books, seven of which have been on the same New York Times bestseller list and four of which have been #1.[3][4][5][6] She has sold more than 3 million copies of her books.[19] In 2018, she published a 20th anniversary revised edition of Healing the Soul of America.[20]

Healing the Soul of AmericaEdit

In 1997 Williamson published her book Healing the Soul of America (hardcover originally titled The Healing of America) and began a more robust political engagement. In this book, she laid out plans to "transform the American political consciousness and encourage powerful citizen involvement to heal our society".[21]

She wrote in the book,

It is a task of our generation to recreate the American politeia, to awaken from our culture of distraction and re-engage the process of democracy with soulfulness and hope. Yes, we see there are problems in the world. But we believe in a universal force that, when activated by the human heart, has the power to make all things right. Such is the divine authority of love: to renew the heart, renew the nations, and ultimately, renew the world.[22]

Patricia Holt of the San Francisco Chronicle called it "A huge and wondrous surprise.... The Healing of America somehow makes us proud to be Americans, because every hope for democracy seems newly within our grasp."[23]

A 20th anniversary edition was published in 2018.

Television and media appearancesEdit

She has been a guest on television programs such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, and Real Time with Bill Maher. In December 2006, a Newsweek magazine poll named her one of the 50 most influential baby boomers. She bases her teaching and writing on A Course in Miracles, a nonreligious self-study program of spiritual psychotherapy, based on universal spiritual themes.[24]

Social activismEdit

HIV/AIDS advocacyEdit

Centers for LivingEdit

In response to the HIV/AIDS crises in the 1980s, Williamson founded the Los Angeles and Manhattan Centers for Living, which served as a refuge and non-medical support for people with HIV/AIDS. There they could connect with a variety of psychological and emotional resources, as well as community of support. She has said of that time that "there was so much love, because there was nothing to hold onto but love."[25]

Project Angel FoodEdit

In 1989, she launched Project Angel Food to build off the work of the Centers for Living. Originally launched to support HIV/AIDS patients, Project Angel Food expanded its outreach and currently cooks and delivers more than 12,000 meals each week, free of charge, to the homes of men, women and children affected by various life-threatening illnesses.[26] The organization's food and nutrition services, including medically tailored meals and nutritional counseling, help under-served people throughout Los Angeles County who are too sick to shop or cook for themselves. In 2017, Project Angel Food served its 11 millionth meal.[27]

Women's advocacyEdit

She has worked on behalf of women's empowerment issues for decades. In 1993 she published her #1 NYT bestseller, A Woman’s Worth.[28] Publishers Weekly said of the book: "Williamson gives sound, empowering advice on relationships, work, love, sex and childrearing."[29]

In 2010, she launched a series of Sister Giant conferences, trainings, and events to support individuals – particularly women – who want to increase their efficacy as activists and/or run for office. On the initiative she has said, “I want to be a cheerleader for women who have never even considered running for office or being involved in a campaign, but who in the quietness of their hearts might think, ‘Why not me?’” The events have focused on how to better address many social issues, including: child poverty, low levels of female representation in office, campaign finance reform, high levels of mass incarceration, among other issues.[30][31]

Peace-buildingEdit

In 2004, she co-founded The Peace Alliance, a nonprofit grassroots education and advocacy organization focused on increasing U.S. governmental support of peace-building approaches to domestic and international conflicts. She has said of the need for this work: "You don’t just wait until there is a violent eruption and then just try to throw people in jail or just wait until there is a violent eruption and then try to bomb an entire country, there’s just a limit past which this is not workable. Rather, you proactively seek to cultivate the conditions of peace...so we can have a much more sophisticated analysis of what it will take to create a more peaceful world."[32]

Poverty alleviationEdit

For years Williamson was a member of the Board of Directors and remains a public supporter of RESULTS, an organization aiming to create the political will to end hunger and poverty around the world. It lobbies public officials, does research, and works with the media and the public to addresses the causal issues of poverty. RESULTS has 100 U.S. local chapters and works in six other countries.[33][30]

Love America TourEdit

Starting in the winter of 2018, she began touring the United States as part of her Love America Tour, discussing how she believes "a revolution in consciousness paves the way to both personal and national renewal." Of the tour she said: "Our own disconnection from the political process, lack of knowledge of how our system operates, lack of understanding of our history, and confusion about many of the issues that confront us now, have led in too many cases to a dangerous emotional disconnection between our country and ourselves."[34][35]

Political careerEdit

2014 U.S. House of Representatives campaignEdit

 
Williamson campaigning in 2014

In 2014 Williamson ran, as an Independent, for the seat of California's 33rd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives elections. Regarding her motivation for running, she has said, "America has gone off the democratic rails. A toxic brew of shrinking civil liberties and expanded corporate influence are poisoning our democracy." Her core message was that "humanitarian values should replace economic values as the ordering principle of our civilization."[36]

Prominent elected and public officials endorsed her campaign, including former Governors Jennifer Granholm and Jesse Ventura; former Congressmembers Dennis Kucinich and Alan Grayson; and Van Jones, among others.[37] Alanis Morissette wrote and performed Williamson's campaign song, "Today".[38]

She campaigned on a broad array of progressive issues, including: greater access to high-quality education and free college; child poverty; economic justice; climate change & renewable energy; campaign finance reform; universal health care; criminal justice reform; ending perpetual war and increasing investments in peacebuilding; women’s reproductive rights; and LGBTQ equality among others.[39][40][41]

She finished fourth out of 16 candidates,[42] with 14,335 votes for 13.2% of the vote. Williamson said of the process and its outcome: "This conversation of a politics of conscience, a politics of the heart, is much bigger than any one woman winning a congressional seat. And if that woman loses, the conversation goes on. My losing the congressional seat is small; what’s big is the larger conversation ... you impact the ethers, and that energy goes somewhere."[43]

2020 presidential campaignEdit

 
Williamson in New Hampshire in January 2019

On November 15, 2018, Williamson announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee in a video in which she acclaimed that there was a "miracle in this country in 1776 and we need another one" which would require "a co-creative effort, an effort of love and a gift of love, to our country and hopefully to our world".[44] Visiting New Hampshire in early January, she said that she "received enough positive energy to make me feel I should take the next step",[45] and subsequently hired Brent Roske to lead her operation in Iowa.[46] Roske, a film producer who also contested the same 2014 primary for the seat now represented by Ted Lieu,[47][48] maintained a wide network of connections in Iowa due in part to his previous involvement in the state, working on a political television show about the 2016 caucuses.[48] In response to the Iowa Democratic Party's proposed creation of "virtual caucuses" in the 2020 race, Williamson's campaign announced that it would appoint 99 "Virtual Iowa Caucus Captains" (each assigned to a single county) to turn out supporters in both the virtual and in-person caucuses.[49]

Williamson officially launched her presidential campaign in Los Angeles on January 28, 2019,[50] in front of an audience of 2,000 attendees, and appointed Maurice Daniel, who served alongside Donna Brazile in Dick Gephardt's campaign for the Democratic nomination in 1988, as her national campaign manager,[47] with her campaign committee, "Marianne Williamson for President", officially filed on February 4.[51] Following her Los Angeles announcement, she held her Iowa kickoff in Des Moines on January 31.[52] On February 16, in addition to scheduling another trip to New Hampshire, Williamson's campaign announced the appointment of former Congressman Paul Hodes, who represented New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district from 2007 to 2011, as New Hampshire state director and senior campaign advisor.[53] Former Georgia state assemblywoman Gloria Bromell Tinubu, who returned to South Carolina in 2011 to run for Congress in the state's 7th district and later joined Phil Noble's bid for governor in 2018 as his running mate, served as South Carolina state director and national senior advisor to the Williamson campaign,[54] but later ceased working with the campaign.[55]

On May 9, Williamson's campaign announced that she had received enough contributions from unique donors to enter the official primary debates,[56] having raised $1.5 million in the first quarter of 2019, during which the campaign received donations from 46,663 unique individuals.[57] She subsequently met the polling criteria, with three unique polls at 1% from qualifying pollsters, on May 23.[58] In June, Williamson confirmed that she moved to Des Moines, Iowa in advance of the 2020 caucuses.[59]

Political positionsEdit

Williamson claims to be a "pretty straight-line progressive Democrat", supporting an increase of the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, reducing wealth inequality, addressing climate change, and tackling student loan debt.[60] She backs a "Medicare for All model", Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants without a "serious criminal background", and says that the U.S. needs to be an "honest broker" in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.[61]

She ranks climate change as "the greatest moral challenge of our generation" and backs the Green New Deal.[62] She has called for the establishment of a Department of Peace to expand global diplomacy, mediation, and educational and economic development.[63] She also voices support for stricter gun control, criminal justice reform, improving public education, free college tuition, raising the top marginal tax rate to a point where high earners pay "their fair share of taxes", describing her policies as a "renovation" of a "sociopathic economic system" focused on "short-term profit maximization".[47] She appeared to oppose mandatory vaccinations when she described them as "Orwellian" and stating "To me, it’s no different than the abortion debate."[64] She later stated that she misspoke, and "I support vaccines. Public safety must be carefully balanced with the right of individuals to make their own decisions."[65] According to the Los Angeles Times, she "has a history of skeptical comments about vaccinations."[65][66]

Her signature campaign promise is a call for $100 billion in reparations for slavery to be distributed over 10 years by a group of black leaders for selected "economic and education projects",[47][67] and later suggested distributing $200 to $500 billion on The Breakfast Club,[68] a sum far greater than any other primary contenders support. In doing so, Williamson became the only candidate in the Democratic field to submit a detailed plan for reparations for black Americans, though fellow Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris later pledged support for reparations in late February 2019.[69]

Personal lifeEdit

Williamson was briefly married.[13] In 1990, she gave birth to a daughter, India Emma.[70]

BibliographyEdit

  • A Return to Love, First Edition 1992 (ISBN 9780060927486)
  • Imagine What America Could Be in the 21st Century: Visions of a Better Future from Leading American Thinkers (ISBN 0451204697)
  • Emma & Mommy Talk to God (ISBN 9780060799267)
  • Healing the Soul of America: Reclaiming Our Voices as Spiritual Citizens (ISBN 9780684846224)
  • A Woman's Worth (ISBN 9780345386571)
  • Enchanted Love: The Mystical Power of Intimate Relationships (ISBN 9780684870250)
  • Everyday Grace: Having Hope, Finding Forgiveness, And Making Miracles (ISBN 9781573223515)
  • Illuminata: A Return to Prayer (ISBN 9781573225205)
  • The Gift of Change (ISBN 0060816112)
  • The Law of Divine Compensation: On Work, Money and Miracles (ISBN 0062205412)
  • A Course in Weight Loss: 21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight Forever (ISBN 1401921531)
  • Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment (ISBN 9780062205445)
  • A Politics of Love: A Handbook for a New American Revolution (ISBN 0062873938)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Knapp, Gwenn (2006). "StarBios Report for Marianne Williamson". MOTTASIA Inc. Archived from the original on October 18, 2006. Retrieved July 12, 2006.
  2. ^ "Books by Marianne Williamson". Good Reads. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "BEST SELLERS". New York Times. September 6, 1992.
  4. ^ a b "Best Sellers". New York Times. July 11, 1993.
  5. ^ a b "Best Sellers". New York Times. January 1, 1995.
  6. ^ a b "Best Sellers". New York Times. December 15, 2002.
  7. ^ "Our History". Project Angel Food. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  8. ^ "History". The Peace Alliance. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  9. ^ Bowden, John (January 29, 2019). "Author Marianne Williamson running for 2020 Dem nomination". The Hill. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  10. ^ Munson, Zack. "God Help Us", The Weekly Standard, Vol. 19, No. 22. 2014 February 17
  11. ^ Merl, Jean. "Marianne Williamson's spiritual path into political realm", Los Angeles Times, 2014 January 13
  12. ^ a b Appelo, Tim. "Love Prophet", Entertainment Weekly, 1992 March 6
  13. ^ a b c d Pristin, Terry. "COVER STORY : The Power, the Glory, the Glitz : Marianne Williamson, an ex-nightclub singer, has attracted many in Hollywood with her blend of new-time religion and self-help--and alienated more than a few.", "Los Angeles Times," 1992 February 16
  14. ^ a b c d Schindehette, Susan. "The Divine Miss W" Archived October 22, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, People, 1992 March. 09
  15. ^ "Jewish Herald-Voice". jhvonline.com.
  16. ^ a b Harel, Monica Corcoran (May 27, 2014). "The New Age of Marianne Williamson". Los Angeles. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Faith: Marianne Williamson is Full of It". Mother Jones (November/December 1997).
  19. ^ "Marianne Williamson, Hollywood self-help guru, wants to heal Washington". Washington Post. March 11, 2014.
  20. ^ "Healing the Soul Of America". Amazon.com.
  21. ^ "Healing the Soul of America - 20th Anniversary Edition". Simon and Schuster.
  22. ^ "How To Heal Yourself And The World Around You". Oprah.com.
  23. ^ "BOOKS -- The Spiritual Side Of U.S. Politics / Williamson urges rethinking of roles". San Francisco Chronicle. October 14, 1997.
  24. ^ "Marianne Williamson on What's Wrong—and Right—with the World". Oprah. December 29, 2012. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  25. ^ "Marianne Williamson Aims to Defeat Henry Waxman, and Save Washington's Soul". January 1, 2014.
  26. ^ "Project Angel Food's Angel Awards benefit, featuring Charo and Cheyenne Jackson, raises $650,000". Los Angeles Times. August 20, 2018.
  27. ^ "Project Angel Food serves 11 millionth meal". Los Angeles Blade. November 28, 2018.
  28. ^ "BEST SELLERS: July 11, 1993". New York Times. July 11, 1993.
  29. ^ "A Woman's Worth". Publishers Weekly.
  30. ^ a b "Gabrielle Bernstein Interviews Marianne Williamson: Sister Giant". Huffington Post. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  31. ^ "The History of Sister Giant".
  32. ^ "Marianne Williamson Department of Peace Interview".
  33. ^ "Turning Compassion into a Political Force". Results.org.
  34. ^ "Marianne Williamson bringing her 'Love America' tour to Detroit". Detroit Free Press. May 15, 2018.
  35. ^ "Tour Dates". Sistergiant.com.
  36. ^ "Marianne Williamson for Congress". web.archive.org. February 25, 2014.
  37. ^ "Marianne Williamson".
  38. ^ "Alanis Morissette cuts campaign song for Calif. candidate". The Hill. May 6, 2014.
  39. ^ "Marianne Williamson, New-Age Guru, Seeks Congressional Seat". New York Times. November 13, 2013.
  40. ^ "Issues". Wayback Machine. Archived from the original on February 26, 2014. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  41. ^ "Marianne Williamson Aims to Defeat Henry Waxman, and Save Washington's Soul". LA Weekly. January 16, 2014.
  42. ^ "Marianne Williamson, Hollywood's Favorite New Age Guru, Backs Bernie Sanders for President". The Hollywood Reporter. May 1, 2015.
  43. ^ "Oprah to Marianne Williamson: 'How Important Was the Win for You?'". Oprah.com. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  44. ^ Thompson, Alex (November 16, 2018). "Oprah pal and spirituality guru plans 2020 run". Politico. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  45. ^ Steinhauser, Paul (January 8, 2019). "Oprah advisor to visit N.H. as she considers White House bid". Concord Monitor. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  46. ^ Pfannenstiel, Brianne [@brianneDMR] (January 21, 2019). "Inbox: Marianne Williamson, who formed a presidential exploratory committee (…) is making "a big announcement" Jan 28 and then will be in Des Moines for a kickoff event Jan 31. She's hired @brentroske as Iowa director for her exploratory committee. #iacaucus" (Tweet). Retrieved March 1, 2019 – via Twitter.
  47. ^ a b c d Peele, Anna (February 19, 2019). "Marianne Williamson Wants to Be Your Healer in Chief". The Washington Post Magazine. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  48. ^ a b Rynard, Pat (February 28, 2019). "How The 2020 Candidates Are Staffing Up In Iowa". Iowa Starting Line. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  49. ^ Rynard, Pat (February 28, 2019). "Marianne Williamson Recruits "Virtual Captains" For Virtual Caucus". Iowa Starting Line. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  50. ^ Kaji, Mina (February 20, 2019). "Marianne Williamson: Oprah confidant, author, spiritual teacher and presidential candidate". ABC News. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  51. ^ "FEC Form 2: Statement of Candidacy" (PDF). Federal Election Commission. February 4, 2019. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  52. ^ Opsahl, Robin (January 31, 2019). "Marianne Williamson tells Iowa crowd America needs a 'moral and spiritual awakening'". Des Moines Register. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  53. ^ DiStaso, John [@jdistaso] (February 16, 2019). "JUST IN to @WMUR9 – Democratic presidential candidate @marwilliamson lands top NH campaign advisor – Former US Rep. @PaulHodes signs on as Senior Campaign Advisor & NH State Director. They have a busy #fitn schedule on tap. #nhpolitics #WMUR" (Tweet). Retrieved March 1, 2019 – via Twitter.
  54. ^ Rivas, Briana (February 19, 2019). "SC native Dr. Gloria Bromell Tinubu joins Williamson 2020 campaign". WPDE. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  55. ^ Marchant, Bristow (April 28, 2019). "Lindsey Graham gets second Democratic challenger in Senate race". The State. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  56. ^ Stewart, Briana (May 9, 2019). "Marianne Williamson's campaign says she's qualified for the first 2020 Democratic debate". ABC News. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  57. ^ Schouten, Fredreka (April 15, 2019). "Author Marianne Williamson raised $1.5 million in presidential bid". CNN. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  58. ^ Shepard, Steven; Montellaro, Zach (May 23, 2019). "Spirituality guru Marianne Williamson locks in 2020 debate spot". Politico. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  59. ^ Judd, Donald (June 6, 2019). "Marianne Williamson moves to Des Moines in bid for the Iowa caucuses". CNN. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  60. ^ Rynard, Pat (February 3, 2019). "Love, Reparations, And Fighting Back: A Marianne Williamson Iowa Tour". Iowa Starting Line. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  61. ^ Yadidi, Noa (February 28, 2019). "Marianne Williamson: Everything you need to know about the 2020 candidate". Axios. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  62. ^ Woodruff, Judy (June 6, 2019). Why Marianne Williamson thinks she can defeat Trump (Video). PBS NewsHour. Event occurs at 3:30 – via YouTube.
  63. ^ Woodruff interview. Event occurs at 6:15.
  64. ^ Kaplan, Anna (June 20, 2019). "2020 Candidate Marianne Williamson: Vaccine Mandates Are 'Orwellian'". The Daily Beast. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  65. ^ a b Pearce, Matt (June 20, 2019). "2020 candidate Marianne Williamson apologizes for calling vaccine mandates 'Orwellian'". LA Times.
  66. ^ Shen-Berro, Julian (June 20, 2019). "Marianne Williamson Apologizes For Calling Vaccine Mandates 'Draconian'". HuffPost.
  67. ^ Burns, Alexander; Flegenheimer, Matt; Lee, Jasmine C.; Lerer, Lisa; Martin, Jonathan (January 21, 2019). "Who's Running for President in 2020?". The New York Times. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  68. ^ Wang, Esther (March 29, 2019). "Marianne Williamson Wants Your Perception to Shift". Jezebel. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  69. ^ Herndon, Astead W. (February 21, 2019). "2020 Democrats Embrace Race-Conscious Policies, Including Reparations". The New York Times. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  70. ^ "The New Age of Marianne Williamson Los Angeles Magazine". Los Angeles Magazine. May 27, 2014.

External linksEdit