Philadelphia — Members of the Racial, Economic and Legal Justice Coalition and Black Lives Matter disrupted a Hillary Clinton campaign event here, chanting, “Don’t vote for Hillary! She’s killing Black people!” seven minutes into her speech at the Fillmore Theater on April 20.
The R.E.A.L. Justice Coalition demonstrators foiled security and appeared in the audience with signs strung together that read, “You’re not welcome here” and “Stop killing Black people.”
Security quickly escorted the protesters out, along with credentialed reporters, including Malcolm Burnley with PhillyMag.com. Burnley was told to leave the building while he was trying to interview demonstrator Jason Farmer, whose brother Rufus Farmer successfully challenged Bill Clinton at a campaign event in Philadelphia on April 7.
Farmer told Burnley, “No one is challenging Hillary Clinton to do anything about the harm that she has created. The 1994 crime bill — the president has the power to pardon any federal prisoner. If you look at her racial justice platform, if you look at her criminal justice platform, there is nothing that she mentions about pardoning all of the victims who were wrongly convicted or sentenced under the 1994 criminal justice bill.” (Phillymag.com, April 20)
The video of the demonstrators’ April 7 confrontation with Bill Clinton in Philadelphia about his administration’s racist agenda has been viewed widely. (tinyurl.com/zbggfpo) Hillary Clinton tried to prevent more problems for her campaign by inviting members of R.E.A.L. Justice and mothers whose sons died at the hands of area police to hold an invitation-only meeting with her and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at the historic St. Paul’s Baptist Church in a North Philadelphia Black community.
When it became evident that the event was really just a public relations stunt to imply support for her campaign, R.E.A.L. Justice members boycotted and picketed outside.
Outside the church, speakers addressed the impact of Bill Clinton’s 1994 crime bill on African-American communities, as well as Hillary Clinton’s statements calling Black youth “superpredators.” Megan Malachi with R.E.A.L. Justice called out Clinton’s opportunism. “The only reason she is here today is because members of our coalition shut her husband down a few weeks ago.”
“When police come out here and do anything they can get away with to you, Hillary Clinton will not be here to stand up for you, but the young people in our coalition will,” Malachi told neighborhood residents gathered outside hoping to catch a glimpse of Clinton.
Pam Africa, minister of confrontation for the MOVE organization, noted that when Hillary Clinton first ran for president against Barack Obama in 2008 she had a lot to say about Black people and “it wasn’t pretty.”
Deandra Price, a Temple University student and R.E.A.L. Justice Coalition member, was blocked from entering the hall even though she was an “invited guest” on Clinton’s list. Price called Hillary Clinton’s brand of feminism “opportunist and only for white women.”
Other speakers addressed Hillary Clinton’s reactionary and murderous tenure as secretary of state under Obama. Transgender youth organizer Shanae Akilah, of Haitian descent, challenged the Clinton’s use of the earthquake disaster in Haiti in 2010 to set up their neoliberal agenda. “You cannot continue to colonize us,” Akilah stated. “It’s a new day.”
Scott Williams, with Workers World Party, called out Clinton for her role in the destruction of Libya in 2011 and support for the right-wing coup d’état in Honduras in 2009. “We are putting Clinton and the DNC on notice that there will be protests every day during their convention in Philadelphia starting July 24.”