Black Lives Matter activists are pushing for the Democratic presidential candidates to partake in a debate centered solely on the nation’s racial climate.
Earlier today, the Black Lives Matter network published a petition on Color of Change to Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, saying that the candidates’ previous debate had glossed over the issues plaguing the Black community.
“It is not enough to poll the presidential candidates on whether or not they think ‘Black lives matter’ or ‘All lives matter,'” the organization said in a statement. “We deserve substantive responses, including and in addition to criminal justice reform, what will the presidential candidates do to ensure that Black lives matter?”
The candidates’ fleeting focus on criminal justice and police brutality ultimately harms voters, the statement says, cheating them out of a well-rounded knowledge of a candidate’s platforms.
“What we’re demanding is for more substance, not just rhetoric, because we know that a lot of the candidates are depending on Black voters,” Black Lives Matter partner Elle Hearns told BuzzFeed.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign issued a response to the group’s request earlier today.
“Hillary Clinton looks forward to continuing to debate and lay out why she’s running for president and who she’ll fight for,” her camp told BuzzFeed. “As she has said, she will follow the DNC schedule and looks forward to a good exchange of ideas and to make sure that Democratic voters see exactly what she stands for.”
Supporters are invited to join the conversation using the hashtags #RaiseTheDebate and #BLMDebate. You can sign a petition here.