A co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement has asked for a meeting with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) to urge the duo to give top priority to a “well-thought-out, communnity-driven, fully resourced agenda that addresses the particular challenges faced by Black people.”
Patrisse Cullors, who signed a letter (pdf) to the Democrats in her role as leader of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, said the Biden and Harris ticket’s strong showing in the election rested on the support of black voters, adding, “we want something for our vote.”
She began by congratulating Biden and Harris, referring to them respectively as “President-Elect” and “Vice-President Elect.” While some media outlets have called the race for Biden and Harris, The Epoch Times has chosen to wait until vote tabulation concludes and legal challenges are settled in what has become a contested election, with numerous allegations of irregularities and fraud.
Black Lives Matter and other black-led organizations “invested heavily in this election,” Cullors continued, adding that the movement’s “electoral justice efforts reached more than 60 million voters.”
“We want to be heard and our agenda prioritized,” she wrote. “We issue these expectations not just because black people are the most consistent and reliable voters for Democrats, but also because black people are truly living in crisis in a nation that was built on our subjugation,” she added.
Cullors also took aim at Biden and Harris for their record on issues that had a negative impact on the black community, urging them to work with grassroots organizations to “remedy past missteps,” and decrying “the indifference of a Democrat-controlled government that refuses to wrestle with its most egregious and damnable shame.”
While she didn’t note specifically what “past missteps” she was referring to, Biden has been criticized for supporting a 1994 crime bill that has been blamed for expanding policies that disproportionately criminalized black Americans. Biden said during the campaign that he regrets his support for the legislation, known as the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.
Harris, meanwhile, who served as California’s attorney general, has faced criticism for her role in administering the state’s tough-on-crime policies.
“Communities of color, they have a hard time trusting you when you are connected with law enforcement,” said Yvette McDowell, a black attorney and former Pasadena prosecutor, in remarks to the Los Angeles Times, in an article that examined why Harris’s candidacy was a hard sell to some in the black community.
Cullors concluded her letter by noting her desire to play a role in the Biden transition team’s planning and policy work.
She described herself as a “trained Marxist” in a recently resurfaced 2015 video, while in a 2018 interview with Democracy Now! she called Eric Mann, a former activist with the Weather Underground domestic terror group, “my mentor.”