Senator Bernie Sanders opened his speech in LA on August 10 with Black Lives Matter and civil rights issues. He let his new national spokeswoman, Symone Sanders (no relation), begin the program. She is a black criminal justice advocate and a supporter of Black Lives Matter. Also, on his campaign page, Senator Sanders has put up very clear position statements regarding racism and racial inequality.
All of this is what needed to happen after the Netroots Nation incident. The Senator needed to get ahead of the argument and present his position clearly and often, because it is one of national concern. Had he done so sooner, then the Seattle protest might not have happened. If BLM protesters come to future events, he at least has these actions and concrete plans to back him up, to prove that he is listening and has plans for action.
As I said in my last piece, I like Bernie Sanders, and have always felt that he was on the right side of most issues I care about. I’m glad to see that he’s now willingly discussing this issue of national importance and giving it the platform it deserves. Well done.
PS: Much has been said about Seattle activist Marissa Janae Johnson, one of the two activists who interrupted Senator Sanders in Seattle. Accusations include that she is a plant by the Clinton campaign, was once a supporter of Sarah Palin, that she does not speak for Seattle Black Lives Matter, etc. I don’t know her and I’m not going to jump to any conclusions. I’m hesitant to make such accusations because I know how easy it is to do such things. In a past life I was involved with in-your-face type groups (ACT UP, anti-apartheid groups) that sometimes went after people that others thought should be our “friends.” Based on that experience, I know that sometimes even friends need a wake up call, and that it’s too easy to impugn the alarm clock rather than listen to it ring. The folks at This Week in Blackness Media (TWiB) discussed Ms. Johnson’s actions and interviewed her for their podcast yesterday. Take a listen and decide for yourself. (NSFW: language)
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