Presidential Candidates Challenged by #BlackLivesMatter at Netroots Nation
A bit into Gov. O'Malley's segment at Saturday's Presidential Town Hall at Netroots Nation, protesters representing the #BlackLivesMatter movement entered the enormous convention hall chanting and marching towards the stage. Tia Oso, a Phoenix resident and local organizer, was soon on the stage with her own microphone. She said she decided to organize a protest because Black Lives Matter movement was not being represented this year at Netroots Nation. (It will be Topic #1 at next year's gathering to be held in St. Louis.).
Neither O'Malley, nor Senator Bernie Sanders who followed him, responded well to the protestors. Senator Sanders came prepared to deliver his standard economic justice speech. He seemed annoyed and did not specifically address the protestors until later on. And while the Governor from Maryland offered specific policy proposals concerning the need for transparency and accountability in our police departments, he failed to say simply that "black lives matter". He offered the mantra "Black lives matter, White lives matter, All lives matter." This alienated the protestors because it represented a failure to honor the urgency of the present situation in which unarmed black women and men are killed almost daily at the hands of police or other authorities.
Whether the protestors went too far in their chanting was debated among the attendees, a few of whom booed when Sanders was interrupted. Yet the overwhelming response from the Netroots Nation was positive. Watch this video and judge for yourself.