An article and petition claiming that the #BlackLivesMatter movement condemned the Seattle activists who disrupted a Bernie Sanders campaign event last week have been debunked by BLM founders. Activists Marissa Jenae Johnson and Mara Willaford took the stage during a Bernie Sanders rally which fell on the first anniversary of the murder of Mike Brown. During the disruption Johnson made references to the BLM movement along with a number of statements about the state of being a person of color in America. The disruption ended with four and a half minutes of silence in memoriam for the four and a half hours Michael Brown’s body laid in the street after his murder. During the course of the disruption Sanders supporters grew irate with Johnson and Willaford, some shouting for them to be arrested or even tasered.
It was later reported by Politics USA that Johnson and Willaford along with their group, Outside Agitators 206, were in fact not official members of the BLM movement and that the heads of BLM were demanding an apology. Furthermore, it was reported by Politics USA that BLM had circulated a petition amongst their supporters to further pressure the group into apologizing. While OA 206 are not officially recognized by BLM (a claim OA 206 has not made) the official BLM organization led by one of the founders Patrisse Marie Cullors-Brignac have come out in support of Johnson and Willaford and have stated that any call for the duo or their organization to apologize has not come from them.
Cullors-Brignac released a statement via Facebook supporting the disruption and quelling talk of BLM seeking an apology for Johnson and Willaford’s actions.
Cullors-Brignac also took a screen shot of a text message exchange with an unidentified person.
As of the writing of this article, Politics USA has neither amended nor taken down their erroneous statement.
The Seattle disruption comes on the heels of the Netroots Nation action which saw a large number of BLM supporters disrupt the event’s presidential town hall at which presidential nominees Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders were scheduled to be interviewed. The disruption and discourse with both nominees solidified the BLM movement as a major talking point for almost all of the presidential hopefuls, but especially those on the Democratic side.
Marissa Jenae Johnson sat down for an interview with TWiB! Prime to discuss the disruption as well as some of the misinformation being spread about the action.