Activists Urge DNC to Host Debate Centered on Black Lives Matter
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Activists from the Black Lives Matter movement are demanding that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) hold a presidential debate centered on racial justice in America.

The group told DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), via a petition posted at Color of Change Tuesday, that black voters “deserve substantive responses and policy recommendations” from the Democratic field.


“This last year alone has demonstrated clearly that black lives are under attack–from police violence to the murders of black trans women to economic disenfranchisement and neoliberal polices,” the petition read. “It’s time to extend the public conversation beyond the status quo.”

The Republican National Convention will host 12 presidential debates during the 2016 election cycle, and candidates including Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley, as well as two top DNC staff members have asked the DNC to hold more debates in order to give Democrats more opportunities to air their views.

Activists who support the movement say that the limited number of debates allows DNC candidates to pay scant attention to issues like poverty in the black community, mass incarceration, and police brutality due to race.

“We want to hear candidates debate and offer tangible solutions to the myriad issues impacting black people. Lifting the unfair restriction on the number of debates and supporting a Black Lives Matter presidential debate is a step in the right direction.”

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Janell Hazelwood

Janell Hazelwood is associate managing editor at Black Enterprise, managing content across core areas of Money, Career, Small Business and Technology. She is also a featured blogger with My Two Cents, providing insights on branding, millennial career development, employment trends and leadership. She was previously a content producer and copy editor for Black Enterprise magazine, working across several editorial sections. The Hampton University graduate got her start in the newspaper industry, having worked for companies including The New York Times and Scripps Howard News Service. Her works and insights have appeared on The Huffington Post, MadameNoire, E!Online, Brazen Careerist, CBS News, and Arise TV.