The co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter in Chicago was invited to the White house on Thursday with DeRay McKesson, the group’s biggest player, but she instead decided to reject the offer from Barack Obama. She had a good reason, and she exposed something rather damning about the president’s plans.
According to TIME, Aislinn Pulley was extended an invite to the “first of its kind” meeting of veteran leaders, activists, and the president, in which Obama will listen to the gripes from the various representatives from around the country, but she declined. Pulley called the planned gathering a “sham,” and said that participating would be a disservice to her greater goals as a self-described “radical.”
“As a radical, Black organizer, living and working in a city that is now widely recognized as a symbol of corruption and police violence,” she said in an op-ed. “I do not feel that a handshake with the president is the best way for me to honor Black History Month or the Black freedom fighters whose labor laid the groundwork for the historic moment we are living in.”
Around a dozen or so black activists were invited to the meeting by Obama, who would rather meet with them than attend the funeral of the Supreme Court behemoth Antonin Scalia. However, Pulley doesn’t believe that much was accomplished on Thursday. In fact, she exposed what the meeting really is for Obama – a fancy photo-op.
“I was under the impression that a meeting was being organized to facilitate a genuine exchange on the matters facing millions of Black and Brown people in the United States,” she said. “Instead, what was arranged was basically a photo opportunity and a 90-second sound bite for the president [emphasis mine.”
Ouch. Then again, does she really think Obama cares about her concerns beyond political opportunity? Not likely.
Pulley explained further why it was she chose to snub the president of the United States:
“I could not, with any integrity, participate in such a sham that would only serve to legitimize the false narrative that the government is working to end police brutality and the institutional racism that fuels it. For the increasing number of families fighting for justice and dignity for their kin slain by police, I refuse to give its perpetrators and enablers political cover by making an appearance among them.”
Her assessment that “institutional racism” is fueling police brutality is off the mark, but like they always say – the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Well, she just made a new friend. Regardless if you agree with her beliefs, you at least have to give her credit for refusing to be a political prop, and calling out Obama for his disingenuous concern for members of the black community.
We all knew he doesn’t care about anybody but himself and his agenda; however, perhaps if more people like Pulley speak out, others within the black community will realize they’re simply being used by Obama and the Democrats to further a political agenda.