Amid the famous politicians, wealthy donors and top Democratic Party officials invited to New York last month to watch Hillary Rodham Clinton announce her candidacy for president sat another VIP guest — a newcomer to politics, but a man whose presence at the event was sought after by Clinton aides.
DeRay Mckesson, 30, one of the most visible organizers of the Black Lives Matter movement that has sprung up in the wake of the Ferguson, Mo., protests, had received a personal invitation to attend, and the campaign encouraged him to tweet his observations to his 178,000 followers.
He wasn’t impressed.
“I heard a lot of things. And nothing directly about black folk,” Mckesson wrote moments after the speech. “Coded language won’t cut it.”
Then this week, Clinton rivals Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley each began a frenetic push to appease Black Lives Matter activists angry at the way the two men handled a demonstration by the group at a liberal conference last weekend. O’Malley appeared on a black-oriented talk show to say he made a mistake, while Sanders called activists to request meetings.