Bernie Sanders To Meet With Black Lives Matter Activist DeRay McKesson
After nearly a month in the making, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is finally set to meet Wednesday with DeRay McKesson, one of the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement.
McKesson, who began protesting professionally last year after the shooting death of Michael Brown, tweeted news of the planned meeting on Tuesday.
— deray mckesson (@deray) September 15, 2015
The activist reached out to Sanders through Twitter last month after reading the candidate’s racial justice policy proposal.
Though Sanders has mounted a surprisingly successful challenge of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, he has struggled to connect with black voters. While he touts his record as a champion of civil rights — and points out that he marched for civil rights in the 1960s — his campaign stump speech often focuses heavily on old school, socialistic economic policy.
Sanders has also had several high-profile negative encounters with Black Lives Matter protesters. During a campaign event in Seattle last month, he was forced off stage by two local Black Lives Matter activists. The two women accused Sanders supporters of being racist.
Following that incident, a Sanders campaign staffer sent the activists a letter apologizing for not reaching out sooner. But Sanders distanced himself from the letter, saying that he did not authorize it and did not believe he owed the protesters an apology.
While McKesson is seen as the face of Black Lives Matter, he appears to have split with the movement over political strategy.
Late last month, the group rejected the Democratic National Committee’s resolution endorsing the movement. The group has also disrupted Clinton and Martin O’Malley campaign events.
But as McKesson’s meeting with Sanders indicates, he’s been more willing to enter the political fray. In June, he attended a Clinton campaign event in New York at the candidate’s invitation.
Reached by The Daily Caller, the Sanders campaign declined to comment.