Politics

#BlackLivesMatter Is Winning the 2016 Democratic Primary

A statue memorializing the Confederacy is spray-painted with the message "Black Lives Matter" several days after a shooting at a historic black church Sunday, June 21, 2015, in Charleston, S.C. Police spokesman Charles Francis said city workers used a tarp to cover up the graffiti marking the stone pedestal beneath the statue. He said he didn't know when the graffiti was spray-painted there, but said it would be cleaned off. (AP Photo/WCSC-TV, Philip Weiss)
A statue memorializing the Confederacy is spray-painted with the message “Black Lives Matter” several days after a shooting at a historic black church Sunday, June 21, 2015, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/WCSC-TV, Philip Weiss)

(Time) – When Black Lives Matter protestors stormed a room at a meeting in Phoenix and demanded that the 2016 presidential candidates say the names of black people killed by the police, the response was swift: Bernie Sanders did it the next day.

“I wish that in the year 2015, I could tell you we have eliminated racism in this country, but you all know that is not true,” said Sanders, to a crowd of more than 11,000 in Houston on Sunday, and then listed the names: “Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray and many, many others.”

It’s a testament to the influence Black Lives Matter activists are already having on the 2016 presidential race. Since the raucous protest of a few dozen mostly African-American activists brought the biggest meeting of progressives in the country to a screeching halt, Hillary Clinton repeated her calls for body cameras and improved early childhood education, and wrote “Black lives matter” in a Facebook post. Martin O’Malley promised to roll out a comprehensive plan to reform the criminal justice system, and Sanders has repeatedly brought up race on the campaign trail.

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