“Black lives Matter. White lives Matter. All lives matter.”
According to CNN, these were the words uttered by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley at a town hall for progressive activists that took place in Phoenix, AZ. O’Malley and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who are both Democratic presidential candidates vying for the 2016 nomination, were confronted by demonstrators of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration who were quite noticeable in wanting to draw attention to the cause of police brutality and systematic racism.
The leader of the alliance, Tao Oso, demanded to know if O’Malley would be addressing institutional racism directly were he to be elected leader. According to the CNN report, before O’Malley could really answer the question, the demonstrators started shouting “Black lives matter.” The town hall participants asked the demonstrators to let O’Malley answer, and his response included, “”Black lives Matter. White lives Matter. All lives matter.”
Now Black, White, Brown, etc. lives do matter. But noticeably by the amount of injustices faced, we have to emphasize the importance of particular lives. (Why is this so hard to understand?) The demonstrators did not take kindly to the response, and O’Malley did later join in the “Black lives matter” chants. (He also later apologized for his tone-deaf remarks.) Senator Sanders could not give his prepared remarks either and had to address the demonstrators’ questions. Although many attendees of the conference supported the demonstrators message, they were disappointed that it essentially disrupted the town hall.
What do you think? Did the demonstrators do the right thing or did they do more harm than good?