Activists Demand DNC Host #BlackLivesMatter Presidential Debate

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DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz

[Elections 2016: Commentary]

#BlackLivesMatter has issued the following statement directed to the Democratic Party leadership.

The #BlackLivesMatter network and our allies urge Democratic National Committee chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz to allow for more debates amongst Democratic party candidates leading up to the 2016 election, specifically for a #BlackLivesMatter themed Presidential debate.

It is not enough to poll the Presidential candidates on whether or not they think "Black lives matter" or "All lives matter" - we deserve substantive responses - including and in addition to criminal justice reform, what will the presidential candidates do to ensure that Black lives matter?

We deserve substance and not rhetoric. In fact, we demand it. Join the call for a Black Lives Matter Presidential debate focused on the issues important to our community.

Limiting the number of debates unfairly privileges some candidates over others, and cheats voters out of the opportunity to fully engage candidates on issues we care about. Black voters, in particular, constitute a significant portion of the potential voting bloc. According to the Center for American Progress, in 2012, Black women voted at a higher rate than any other group, across ethnicity, gender and race.

Those of us who --reluctantly-- give our votes to the Democratic Party deserve more robust forums on issues of particular concern to our communities, at home and abroad. It's time to extend the conversation beyond the status quo. 

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