Members of Black Lives Matter criticized police brutality against people of social minorities, in a demonstration conducted on Tuesday in North Philadelphia. They also spoke out about the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

The group was perceived to be one of the most racially diverse and congregated at Temple University before marching to City Hall shouting “Power to the People!” Different individuals of the group held signs and placards with the names of innocent men, women and children slain at the hands of police. Other signs said “stop killing Black people” and “no justice, no peace.”

Demonstrators in North Philadelphia. Image credit: @Blklivesmatter

African-Americans for Clinton

According to an article published by USA Today, Clinton saw substantial votes coming from the African-American community in the primaries. NBC reported Clinton plans to further this support she has received from the community through advancing her outreach by employing more black staff members.

Nadia Garnett will be the African-American Vote Director of Clinton’s campaign and head the majority of strategic efforts. Malik Hubbard, who worked for Senator Tim Kaine’s campaign for Governor in 2005, will be the Deputy African-American Vote Director.

Tamia Booker will occupy the position as Director of African-American Outreach, and LaDavia Drane will tackle Congressional Liaison. Zina Pierre will become the campaign’s African-American Faith Director. Joel Payne, a former member of staff for Republican Barbara Lee, will be the Director of African-American Paid Media and Jordan Vaughn will become the African-American Finance Director.

It is important to note that although more black people have been included in Clinton’s team, one should also look at this number in comparison to the total to see if the percentage of minority-group members are well-represented or if they are compensatory tokens for their communities. Organiser with the Philly Coalition for Real Justice, Asa Khalif, warned Clinton that she is at risk of losing support from members of the black community who are part of the alliance.

Bill Clinton’s Crime Bill

Khalif criticized Clinton for not having recognized the Black Lives Matter Movement when her party was establishing their convention platform. He also pointed out that Hillary Clinton had supported her husband’s ratification of the controversial Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which included the three strikes mandatory life sentencing for repeat offenders and an expansion of offenses eligible for the capital punishment. The controversy surrounding this bill is that the measures were perceived to be more in favor for punishment than prevention and/or rehabilitation.

Black Lives Matter protesters held signs and placards with the names of innocent men, women and children slain at the hands of police. Image credit: Philly Student Union

Marc Mauer, Executive Director of The Sentencing Project, found that the bill reiterated the popular belief that the solution to crime is harsher punishments. The issue with this manner of thinking is that punishing offenders may take them off the streets and make them less likely to cause harm to society; at the same time, it does not address the root cause of crime, which disproportionately affects communities of color more than others. This truth then can be traced to racial profiling where members of these communities are perceived to be likelier suspects than their white counterparts.

Furthermore, Former President Bill Clinton advocated the “one strike, you’re out” policy which brought about the eviction of tenants of public housing if they or their guests had been involved in any criminal activity, causing an increase in evictions and greater difficulty for former inmates to find places to live.

Hillary Clinton has since mentioned that some of the policies that came from the Crime Bill were overboard. Even so, Khalif feels that one thing could secure Hillary Clinton’s support from members of the black community, which is if she specifies that police officers who are caught shooting unarmed black men and women on video footage will be fired and prosecuted.

It is possible that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has upgraded the amount of African-Americans in her staff as a strategy to gain more support from the community as opposed to truly believing in giving more opportunities to those who have been deprived due to institutional oppression dating back to slavery. However, Hillary Clinton, along with her husband, has indeed received substantial votes from African-Americans, who hope she will address the complex issues faced by many in their communities.

Source: USA Today