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Tipsheet

BLM to Biden and Harris: You Owe Us

AP Photo/Noah Berger

In a letter sent to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris after their presumptive win on Saturday, Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors said the support of the group’s movement is going to cost them.

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The BLM Global Network Foundation leader started by congratulating the two and noting how relieved the group is “that the Trump era in government is coming to a close.” Nevertheless, she acknowledged the “intolerable conditions faced by Black people in America” will not end overnight.

Cullors asked for a meeting with the pair “to discuss the expectations that we have for your administration and the commitments that must be made to Black people.”

“Without the resounding support of Black people, we would be saddled with a very different electoral outcome,” she wrote on behalf of the BLM Global Network. “In short, Black people won this election. Alongside Black-led organizations around the nation, Black Lives Matter invested heavily in this election. “Vote and Organize” became our motto, and our electoral justice efforts reached more than 60 million voters. We want something for our vote.”

Cullors went on to ask that the group’s voice be heard and its agenda prioritized. 

“We issue these expectations not just because Black people are the most consistent and reliable voters for Democrats, but also because Black people are truly living in crisis in a nation that was built on our subjugation,” she continued. “Up until this point, the United States has refused to directly reckon with the way it devalues Black people and devastates our lives. This cannot continue. Black people can neither afford to live through the vitriol of a Trump-like Presidency, nor through the indifference of a Democrat-controlled government that refuses to wrestle with its most egregious and damnable shame.”

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She ended the letter by recalling Biden and Harris’s criminal justice records—a dig at the former vice president over his support of the 1994 crime bill and the California Democrat’s past as a tough-on-crime prosecutor.

“The best way to ensure that you remedy past missteps and work towards a more just future for Black people – and by extension all people – is to take your direction from Black grassroots organizers that have been engaged in this work for decades with a legacy that spans back to the first arrival of enslaved Africans,” she wrote. "We would like to be actively engaged in your Transition Team’s planning and policy work."

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