Patrisse Cullors wanted Bernie Sanders to answer the posed question
The excitement was in the air as thousands of Liberal bloggers, writers, and activist entered the hall. That is what Netroots Nation is all about.
Netizens were ready to be bored by Martin O'Malley. They were however excited to listen to Senator Bernie Sanders. Listening to individuals in the crowd, it was evident that the passion of the activists in the Democratic Party is with Bernie Sanders, not Hillary Clinton nor Martin O'Malley nor anyone else.
As I sat at the table with several new friends, we pretty much ignored Martin O'Malley mostly because he was saying nothing new. Worse, most of his solutions were less impactful than the solutions needed to address the economic disparity and the demise of the middle-class.
Then it happened. There was commotion at the side entrance. Scores of black, white, and other attendees entered the hall chanting "What side are you on my people. What side are you on." They forced Martin O'Malley to stop speaking. Tia Oso representing Black Lives Matter went onstage demanding responses to specific questions. Would there be a social justice agenda in his platform? They asked the same of Bernie Sanders.
The moment was unguarded and fractious. Many in the room were stunned. In fact many thought it was rude and unwelcoming.
Was Netroots Nation the correct venue to exercise this protest? I interviewed Patrisse Cullors, the cofounder of Black Lives Matter. Listen to the interview above. It is also being covered on Politics Done Rights.
Patrisse Cullors explained why that action was needed at that time. Americans have been able to see on video what people of color and specifically black folk, more so than others, encounter with police officers. Ignoring irrefutable statistics, some view these realities through willfully ignorant lens.
Days before Netroots Nation yet another black person was assaulted by cop for not being sufficiently submissive. Sandra Bland ultimately died under dubious circumstances, purportedly by suicide, after being held in custody for several days. That was the last straw. Liberal politicians attending Netroots Nation 2015 discussing income inequality was necessary. Equally necessary for a segment of their constituents is an existential problem for many of their children, their friends, and their relatives. Both social justice and economic justice are essential for ALL in any society.
Ultimately Patrisse Cullors and her cohort were successful. While Martin O'Malley did not initially understand the depth of the issue or what Black Lives Matter symbolized, he subsequently did. Bernie Sanders has been very nimble. He gets it. He understands that unless all Americans benefit from all the 'justices' America has to offer, it must be a part of the platform to get there.
Change can be painful and raucous. Patrisse Cullors and Black Lives Matter are instrumental focusing singularly on an issue that must be mitigated.