New video has emerged of Hillary Clinton’s closed-door meeting with #BlackLivesMatter activists during a campaign stop in New Hampshire.
During the August 11 meeting, Clinton was pressed on her support for her husband’s 1994 Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act, which many argue is responsible for the escalation of America’s incarceration rate.
“You have been, in no uncertain way, partially responsible for this,” one activist tells the former Secretary of State during the encounter.
The members of #BlackLivesMatter Boston also addressed governmental policies that have had a negative impact on Black people’s lives, and wanted Clinton to admit the oppression of Black folks is America’s original sin.
“America’s first drug is free Black labor and turning Black bodies into profit,” one young man states. “The mass incarceration system mirrors the prison plantation system. Until someone takes that message and speaks that truth to white people in this country, so that we can actually take on anti-Blackness as a founding problem in this country, I don’t believe there’ll be a solution.”
Clinton listened patiently to the group’s concerns before admitting there has to be a “reckoning” when it comes healing the divide. However, the former First Lady explained she has to figure out a way to “sell” racial justice to the wider, whiter, public who may not understand what role they play in healing America’s history of racism.
“That’s what I’m trying to put together in a way that I can explain it and sell it,” Clinton told the group. “In politics, if you can’t explain it and can’t sell it, it stays on the shelf.”
“This is now a moment in time, [where] the people behind that consciousness raising and advocacy, they had a plan ready to go.”
During the meeting, Clinton also challenged the group to come up with specific policies they’d like to see implemented at both the local and federal level.
“Your analysis is totally fair. It’s historically fair, it’s psychologically fair, it’s economically fair, but you’re going to have to come together as a movement to say, ‘Here’s what we want done about it.'”
Although Black Lives Matter is a loose, leaderless movement with chapters all across the nation, the organization’s website lists a series of demands, which includes full employment for Black folks, safe housing, and end to mass incarceration, and the de-militarization of local police.
While Clinton isn’t the first candidate to come in contact with #BlackLivesMatter protesters, her meeting was certainly the most tame. Earlier this month Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was prevented from speaking at a rally in Seattle, and last week, Republican candidate Jeb Bush had his rally brought to a swift end by chanting protestors.