On Saturday, Seattle was the scene of a tense commotion as “Black Lives Matter” protesters disrupted a planned speech by Senator Bernie Sanders. It marked the second time in almost as many weeks that activists intruded on the Senator’s speaking event, according to information sourced from an August 8 Washington Post report.
During the event at Westlake Park, the Vermont lawmaker, a Democratic challenger to Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Elections was admonished by a small group and pushed aside. The BLM group accused Sanders of “not being accountable” to the African American community. They pointed to hot-button issues like police brutality and racial profiling.
The scheduled event featured panelists, including Bernie Sanders, who were on-hand to help celebrate the anniversary of Medicaid and Social Security. At the end of the long event, it was Sanders’ time at the microphone.
“Welcome to Seattle”: See the moment #BlackLivesMatter activists took over @SenSanders event: http://t.co/LMBK8iPGX9 pic.twitter.com/Yckx8rhBR4
— TheBlaze (@theblaze) August 9, 2015
However, Black Lives Matter members took to the stage and grabbed the microphone. A speaker then asked the crowd to join them for a moment of silence to recognize the 1-year anniversary of the police shooting death of Ferguson, Missouri teen, Michael Brown.
Sources say Marissa Janae Johnson, who identified herself as a local leader of the Black Lives Matter chapter, led the disruption of Sanders’ event.
Oddly, enough, the protestors invited Sanders to the mic to join them on the stage to address their agenda. The scene drew parallels to a July 18 event attended by the “Socialist” Senator and former Governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley. At the event in Phoenix, protesters with Black Lives Matter gathered on the stage and disrupted the town hall meeting.
At Saturday’s event, Sanders left the stage shortly after the takeover. He posed for pictures and greeted those who showed up to see him.
Later, as he departed the event, the Senator addressed the media. He called the disruption by Black Lives Matter protesters “unfortunate.” Later, Sanders issued a statement about the incident.
“I am disappointed that two people disrupted a rally attended by thousands at which I was invited to speak about fighting to protect Social Security and Medicare. I was especially disappointed because on criminal justice reform and the need to fight racism there is no other candidate for president who will fight harder than me.”
Although the Senator’s speech was interrupted, some booed agitators and expressed their shock over the protests. Diane Jerich-Domin, of Port Ludlow, who attended Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson weighed in.
“Why would they pick Bernie Sanders to do this to? He has stuck up for civil rights.”
These types of scenes will likely play out again throughout the presidential campaigns. Many pundits agree that it’s common for groups to use their Constitutional rights to have their voices heard on salient issues during runs for public office.
At this point, Black Lives Matter are leading the charge due to a rising number of police shootings involving white officers and black and brown males.
As time goes on, other activist groups will likely lead the charge. However, it’s important that presidential candidates on both sides strike a balance and find the secret sauce to connect with the voting public — now more than ever.