At least two prominent Black Lives Matter activists had several hours of President Obama’s time Wednesday afternoon.
Obama assembled what the White House is calling a “conversation” to discuss solutions for the rift between communities, policing, and criminal justice.
A WH statement describing the event reads:
“The President will convene individuals from around the country – including activists, civil rights, faith, law enforcement and elected leaders – to have a conversation about ways we can keep people safe, build community trust, and ensure justice for all Americans.”
One of the attendees, DeRay Mckesson, is a prominent leader of Black Lives Matter, the activist group, and founder of Campaign Zero.
— deray (@deray) July 13, 2016
Mckesson was one of 100 protestors arrested in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, over the weekend, demonstrating against the officer-involved shooting of Alton Sterling.
View this post on Instagram
DeRay was arrested in Baton Rouge last night. DeRay was live streaming the protest when police began to forcibly dispersing the crowds. He was tackled to the ground. His arrest was lived streamed on Periscope. CALL the Baton Rouge Police Department and demand the release of DeRay and all the other protesters arrested last night in Baton Rouge. 225-389-3800 #FreeDeray -Victoria ? #blacklivesmatter #batonrouge #poc #woc #policebrutality #deraymckesson
Another person in the meeting is Minneapolis-based Black Lives Matter activist Mica Grimm.
This is her Twitter profile:
White House spokesman Josh Earnest confirmed the presence of Black Lives Matter members earlier Wednesday at the daily press briefing:
“There will be individuals who I think would describe themselves as part of Black Lives Matter participating in the meeting today.”
Another attendee, according to her Instagram post, is Brittany Packnett, who is on Obama’s task force on 21st Century Policing:
From the administration, attendees include Attorney General Loretta Lynch, head of My Brother’s Keeper Task Force Broderick Johnson, White House counsel Neil Eggleston, Director of White House Domestic Policy Cecilia Munoz, and two officials from the Department of Justice.
They join 33 others, including the activists mentioned above. Here’s a sampling of some of those names:
- Reverend Al Sharpton
- NAACP president Cornell Brooks
- Governor John Edwards of Louisiana
- Todd Axtell, Chief of Police, St. Paul, MN
- Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles, CA
- Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League
- Maria Teresa Kumar, president of Voto Latino
- Charles Ramsey, head of the President’s Taskforce on 21st Century Policing
The meeting was hastily put together in the wake of a tumultuous week in America which saw the deaths of two people at the hands of police officers, as well as the shooting deaths of five law enforcement officers in Dallas.
Obama in the past several days has issued multiple public statements and speeches on racial disparities and the role of law enforcement.
Tomorrow he will hold a televised town hall on the issue of race relations, policing, communities and criminal justice.