Hillary Clinton shut down a group of Black Lives Matter protesters during a campaign event in Cleveland on Thursday.
“I will certainly be happy to meet with you later, but I’m going to keep talking,” Clinton said halfway through her speech at Case Western University, in response to several protesters with Black Lives Matter and another group, GetEQUAL.
The activists were chanting the names of black transgender people who have been murdered recently. The disruption came just moments after Clinton said “we do have to stand up and say loudly and clearly ‘black lives matter.'”
The group responsible for the disruption posted to Facebook shortly after.
“We can’t have a serious conversation with Hillary Clinton about policy until she returns donations and refuses to accept future donations from lobbyists and lawyers affiliated with the private prison industry,” a post on GetEQUAL’s Facebook page reads.
“Bankrolled by private prison companies and lobbyists like Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group, Hillary Clinton is part of the system of violence that criminalizes and kills Black trans people — how can we take her policy suggestions to curb mass incarceration and detention seriously while she’s accepting this money?” one of the event’s protesters said in a statement released on GetEQUAL’s website.
Clinton’s encounter with the social justice group is her first in a public venue. Other Democratic candidates, such as Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, have been shouted off stage at public events by the group’s protesters.
Clinton has so far only dealt with the group behind closed doors. She met with five members of the Boston chapter after an event in Keene, N.H. earlier this month. Video of the tense exchange was published online last week.
During that meeting, the activists pressed Clinton on her and husband Bill’s support for stiffer drug sentences in the 1990s. Clinton pushed back, telling the group that they needed to come up with concrete plans to address racial inequality.
She dismissed the idea that “you can change hearts.”
“I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate,” Clinton said. “You’re not going to change every heart. You’re not. But at the end of the day, we could do a whole lot to change some hearts and change some systems and create more opportunities for people who deserve to have them, to live up to their own God-given potential.”
Clinton’s main interlocutor that day did not take her advice in stride. He accused Clinton of engaging in “victim-blaming.”