Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders on Sunday reaffirmed his commitment to the “Black Lives Matter” movement a week after shouting down protesters who disrupted his comments at a Netroots Nation gathering in Phoenix, Arizona, reports CNN.
The pronouncement by the Vermont senator comes as the #BlackLivesMatter movement has forced a national discussion about police violence against Blacks, as well as the proliferation of systemic racism – issues that have been swept under the rug for decades in a conspiracy of silence.
Sanders said his response to the protesters at Netroots Nation was the result of being irritated at the interruption.
“I’m not dismissive,” he said during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press. “I’ve been involved in the civil rights movement all of my life, and I believe that we have to deal with this issue of institutional racism.”
Sanders, a Vermont senator, pointed to Martin Luther King, Jr., saying the civil rights leader “understood and was working on a poor people’s march” when he was assassinated. He pointed to soaring unemployment figures for young African-Americans, and blamed an “unsustainable level of income and wealth inequality.”
Sanders needs minority votes if he wishes to challenge Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. Recent polls show that he has had much better success among White, liberal, college-educated voters than he has with the rest of the Democratic electorate.
What do you think about Sanders’ #BlackLivesMatter pronouncement? Sound off in the comments.