Black Lives Matter leaders talk next steps in lobbying Biden-Harris administration
By Emily Jacobs November 17, 2020 | 5:23pm
Leaders in the Black Lives Matter movement plan to push the incoming Biden administration to immediately end cash bail and grant amnesty to any protesters targeted by the National Guard under President Trump, according to a report.
But first, the leaders told Politico, they plan to showcase their electoral reach by barnstorming the state of Georgia to get out the vote ahead of the two Senate run-offs in January, which will decide which party holds the upper house of Congress.
“The ballot is actually an essential tool to our movement. We are both marching and protesting. And we are going to the voting booth. Those are multiple tools in our toolbox to change our system,” Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, told the outlet.
While Black Lives Matter is known as a protest movement to combat racial injustice, the effort has gained steam over the past few years, culminating in a summer of protests against police brutality and the group forming a super PAC to gain political influence.
The effort won’t be smooth sailing for the activists, though, who face a fractured Democratic Party where many lawmakers blame their calls to defund the police for critical losses in House, Senate, state and local races.
From the perspective of the BLM activists, most of the currently elected Democrats are not doing enough to deliver on major legislative issues like criminal justice reform and a coronavirus relief package.
“Black Lives Matter, through media and social media, can organize marches all across the world. However, can Black Lives Matter get a bill passed in the House of Representatives? No, I don’t think so,” Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), a former Black Panther, told Politico.
The far-left Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who supports the BLM movement, told Politico she believes there is a chance for Congress to pass a substantive police reform bill under a President Biden.
She and her fellow “Squad” member Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) have backed the BREATHE Act, a four-part legislative proposal unveiled this summer which calls for divesting from law enforcement and investing in communities of color.
Activists’ efforts to get the legislation added to the Democratic National Committee’s party platform in August were unsuccessful.
Still, the movement will continue organizing and pressuring the Biden administration to make more progressive reforms.
Activists will also have one of their own in the lower house of Congress come January, with Representative-elect Cori Bush (D-Mo.) becoming the first Black Lives Matter leader to be elected to national office.
They will also have multiple new progressive lawmakers to call allies to their cause.
Cullors penned a letter to Biden and Vice President-elect Harris in the hours after the presidential race was called requesting a meeting.
“Without the resounding support of Black people, we would be saddled with a very different electoral outcome. In short, Black people won this election,” wrote Cullors, 36. “Alongside Black-led organizations around the nation, Black Lives Matter invested heavily in this election. ‘Vote and Organize’ became our motto, and our electoral justice efforts reached more than 60 million voters.”
“We want something for our vote. We are requesting a meeting with you both to discuss the expectations that we have for your administration and the commitments that must be made to Black people,” she continued.
She told Politico that she has still not heard back from the Biden-Harris team.