Netroots Nation
Why Hillary Clinton and her rivals are struggling to grasp Black Lives Matter
Strained interactions and attempts to appease the burgeoning activist group demonstrate how a new force on the left has disrupted traditional politics and created challenges for Democrats.

The rise of Black Lives Matter has presented opportunities for Clinton and her opponents, who are seeking to energize black voters to build on the multiethnic coalitions that twice elected Barack Obama. But the candidates have struggled to tap into a movement that has proven itself to be unpredictable and fiercely independent. It is a largely organic web of young African American activists — many of them unbound by partisan allegiances and largely unaffiliated with establishment groups such as the NAACP that typically forge close ties with Democrats.

At Netroots Nation, the two candidates, who are attempting to challenge Clinton from the left, might have expected to receive a warm welcome. Instead, they seemed to wilt under the questions of protesters, who stormed the space around the stage and recited the names of blacks killed during confrontations with police.

The episode has been seen by many liberal activists as an embarrassment for the two candidates, who appeared surprisingly ill-prepared to respond to questions many thought they should have expected.

Sanders threatened to leave the stage as protesters demanded that he repeat the name of Sandra Bland, a black woman who died in a Texas jail cell earlier this month. Then he canceled a series of meetings he had scheduled with some of the activists following his appearance — something they found out only when campaign manager Jeff Weaver showed up in Sanders’s stead.

O’Malley responded by telling the protesters, “Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter” — a statement that struck the demonstrators as dismissive of their movement and the unique discrimination endured by African Americans at the hands of the police.

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders is a self-described socialist who has been fighting for social justice since before the Internet was a thing. He was an organizer for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) while in college, where, Wikipedia tells us, “one of the actions he took was the coordination of sit-in protests against segregated campus housing.” 

Needless to say, he’s extremely problematic.

Yesterday at Netroots Nation, Sanders had the temerity to suggest that he has been fighting for racial equality his whole life and that his program for social justice that would actually have a remarkably large impact on the financial wellbeing of those who make up the lower classes—a disproportionate number of whom are minorities—was better than mindlessly uttering identity politics pleasantries. 

Obviously, this challenge to the mob could not go unanswered.

"Black people are dying in this country because we have a criminal justice system which is out of control, a system in which over 50 percent of young African-American kids are unemployed,” he said. “It is estimated that a black baby born today has a one in four chance of ending up in the criminal justice system.”

But it did little to quell the protesters. And when the Twitterverse later caught wind of Sanders’ fumble, they decided to take some jabs at him, using the hashtag #BernieSoBlack.

And my did Twitter let him have it. That’ll show this veteran of the civil rights movement!


FINALLY. I’m glad someone had the guts to say it. Did you know he’s not a knee-jerk opponent of gun rights, too? AYFKM?

ikr; his supporters need to learn to stfu:

Internet. Hero.

Whitesplaining has been known to cause headaches. AND OPPRESSION.

Bernie needs to understand his role right now is not to lecture us about economics or to “offer a plan that would actually help poor people.” Nope. He needs to sit down, shut up, and listen. The people spoke yesterday. I hope he took notice.

I give the transgression of a civil rights movement participant thinking he understands civil rights problems well enough to discuss them on a national stage (i.e., whitesplain) three problematics.

Remember how everyone was disappointed with Bernie for not taking a strong stance on Black Lives Matter at the Netroots Nation conference a few weeks ago? Well, he listened to what the activists had to say and has recently added some content to his usual spiel. I can not stress enough how important it is to have politicians that listen to the concerns of grassroots movements. It is the foundation of democracy that politicians represent the people. Bernie gives me hope that we the people do have a voice.
Send Cognitive Dissonance to Netroots Nation!

Folks, I was nominated for a Netroots Nation scholarship to attend this year’s conference in Providence, Rhode Island. The competition is stiff and I need your vote.  

So what’s Netroots Nation?

The big picture: We amplify progressive voices by providing an online and in-person campus for exchanging ideas and learning how to be more effective in using technology to influence the public debate. Through our annual convention and other events, we strengthen the community, inspire action and serve as an incubator for ideas that challenge the status quo and ultimately affect change in the public sphere.

The big event: The seventh annual gathering of the Netroots will be held June 7–10 in Providence, RI. Netroots Nation 2012 will include 70 panels, 30 training sessions, inspiring keynotes (Keith Olbermann is our first confirmed speaker), film screenings and other engaging sessions designed to educate, stimulate and inspire the nation’s next generation of progressive leaders.

Each year, thousands of bloggers, newsmakers, social justice advocates, labor and organizational leaders, grassroots organizers and online activists come together to make new connections, hone their organizing skills, share best practices and build stronger relationships with others working on the issues they care most about. And each year, some of the brightest minds in progressive politics come to Netroots Nation to speak with—and hear from—our community.

I’ve wanted to attend this event since it started. I would appreciate your vote. There’s others who have hundreds of votes already. As of 11:25 PM MST, I had over 8600 followers. If just 10% of folks following me vote, I would be incredibly grateful. If you enjoy what you read here, please, I ask you cast a vote for me.

Click on the link above to vote, or click here.

Thank you again, and please pass this along to your readers!



Have you voted for me yet?

Because you should. Netroots Nation is holding a scholarship contest to pay for registration for the conference in Detroit this summer. Being able to go to conferences and network with other activists is incredibly important to talking about fat politics outside of fat community. Sadly, since my work isn’t paid and I do all of this on a volunteer basis I’m unable to afford the $350 registration fee.

You can help get me there by voting for me. <-Click the link and vote.

If you are outside of the US use the zipcode 48202 or google to find another one!

If you won’t do it for me do it for my mom’s puppy Snickers.
They Are Not Trolls. They Are Men.

Trigger warning for discussion of the various types of abuse perpetrated by those humans known as “trolls” incuding rape and death threats and suicide.Back in July, during Netroots Nation 2014, Zer…

“… By calling these people “trolls,” we are basically letting them off the hook. It’s a lot like the “boys will be boys” mentality that helps to keep rape culture thriving, but it’s also different, because boys are expected to be human. By calling these people “trolls,” we relegate them to non-human status, and we make it clear that we don’t expect them to live up to the same behavioral standards as human beings.”

Honestly, we should all reblog this article once a week, at the very least.

Water Is a Human Right: Call for End to Detroit Water Shutoffs

Despite being surrounded by the largest collection of freshwater lakes in the world, thousands of Detroit residents—most of them low-income people of color—are finding themselves without access to fresh water because of actions by the city’s water department that advocates say are in violation of Detroiters’ human rights.

In March, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD)announced an effortto collect more than $119 million in delinquent payments from more than 150,000 customers in an effort to reduce the department’s $5.7 billion debt load—which it acquired after the city, and then its water and sewage bonds,were downgradedby multiple major credit agencies. As part of that plan, in April and May the department shut off water service at a total of 7,556 locations. In June, the department redoubled those efforts, shutting off service at 7,210 locations in one month alone.

Community advocates have spoken out against these tactics, and have organized to protest policies that they say are denying residents a basic human right to water.

Read the rest of my report for rhrealitycheck

Photo: Eric Seals/Detroit Free Press

I won a scholarship to Netroots Nation!

Thank you to all who voted for me, and a huge thank you to Michael Shay of hummingbirdminds for nominating me!

The scholarship will cover everything but travel. If you’d like to donate to offset my costs in traveling to Rhode Island, please use the widget on the sidebar. It’s much appreciated. 

However, I wouldn’t have won this scholarship without your votes, nor would I be attending. So…..

I’m stoked to attend this year’s conference. If you’d like to go, here’s the info!

Thanks again!

– Meg

Black Lives Matter

Economic Justice is an overdue and a much needed political agenda in America. On the other hand, Black Americans are concerned with our literal survival today. Black people are being murdered by the state at alarming rates, and what the Black community is experiencing is the text-book definition of a real crisis and an existential one. 

The job of Black radicals on the left is NOT to “be reasonable” for all eternity so that White allies get to play the paternalistic Great White Savior. The political right is being dragged ever further to the extreme right. One of the duties of the radical left is to ensure that liberals—the political left—aren’t dragged along with them in a cloud of “reasonable” acquiescence. It is not the duty of White progressives to excoriate Black progressives when they think the AngryBlackPeople™ have “stepped out of line.”   

The Black Lives Matter movement is urgent. We have to be alive in November 2016 to cast a ballot, so perhaps you can see how our agendas aren’t nearly as aligned as they need to be.

It’s not all about you, White liberals: Why attacks on radical people of color are so misguided.
After Marriage Equality, Are Transgender People 'Going To Be Left In The Lurch'?

“I think the fear of a lot of transgender people is that we recognize that we’re very close to accomplishing the tent poles of our community’s work,” she commented. “I think a lot of trans people are beginning to feel like, when those issues are off the table, most of the rest of the issues are our issues. Are our allies — whether they be movement allies and organizations, political allies, people in elected office — are they going to move on to the next big thing? Are we going to be left in the lurch here? I think those are legitimate fears. I’m doing a lot of thinking these days about what the movement looks like after marriage equality. It would be really, really interesting to ask some people who may be considering a run for the big job, ‘What do you think? What are the big issues that impact LGBT people? What are you going to be doing for LGBT people once marriage equality is something in the history books?’"
Sad Girls Clüb Episode 5 - Why Are Politics Majors Yelling At Me?
This week yr v fav sad brown girls discuss: Sandra Bland (4:03), Black Lives Matter action @ Netroots Nation conference (14:27), “Choice” feminism (26:10), “Positive Attitude” Bullshit: On the dangers of “radical self-love” by Chloe Anne King (35:08). This episode was recorded on July 21 2015. Music: Steve Combs: I Don’t Like Me Either I Don't Like Me Either by Steve Combs is licensed under a Attribution License. *~ALL SGC EPISODES WILL BE ON MIXCLOUD FROM NOW ON~*

YAY ITS MY FAVE TIME OF THE WEEK AND YRS!!!! womtynofcolor ty for being the perf partner in crime, shoutout to mixcloud for not making us pay them money to upload our pod!!!

This is why she disrupted Bernie Sanders & Martin O'Malley at Liberal conference Netroots Nation (VIDEO)

This is why she disrupted Bernie Sanders & Martin O’Malley at Liberal conference Netroots Nation (VIDEO)

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Patrisse Cullors wanted Bernie Sanders to answer the posed question The excitement was in the air as thousands of Liberal bloggers, writers, and activist entered the hall. This is what Netroots Nation is all about. Netizens were ready to be bored by Martin O’Malley. They were however excited to listen to Senator Bernie Sanders.…

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O'Malley, Sanders heckled by protestors during presidential forum
A Netroots Nation forum with Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley turned chaotic with disruptions by protesters unhappy about a lack of attention to Black issues.

Civil-rights protesters gave Democratic presidential contenders Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley a raucous and tense reception Saturday in downtown Phoenix, disrupting and commandeering a forum that was billed as a conversation with the two progressive candidates.

Sanders, a left-leaning independent U.S. senator from Vermont, was visibly irritated at times during his shorter-than-expected appearance at the Netroots Nation gathering. He, in turn, angered the “Black Lives Matter” protesters by not immediately responding to them.

The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter is widely used on social media by activists and their allies.

“Black lives, of course, matter,” Sanders said at one point. “… But if you don’t want me to be here, that’s O.K.”

O'Malley, a former Maryland governor and Baltimore mayor whose record has come under fire in the wake of the civil unrest in the city, spoke first. He stood by silently on stage as the demonstrators took control of the proceedings.

“What side are you on, my people,” the several dozen protesters chanted as they filed between tables to the front of the Phoenix Convention Center hall, where O'Malley and moderator Jose Antonio Vargas were talking.

An Open Letter to Elizabeth Warren Regarding the Marginalization of Reproductive Rights at Netroots Nation

Netroots Nation 2015
100 N 3rd Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004

July 18, 2015

Sen. Elizabeth Warren
2400 JFK Federal Building
15 New Sudbury Street
Boston, MA 02230

Dear Senator Warren,

We the undersigned attendees of Netroots Nation 2015 are writing to express our disappointment and frustration with your failure to include a single mention of reproductive health and rights in your keynote speech.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, states enacted 51 new abortion restrictions in the first half of this year, which brings the total number of restrictions to 282 since 2010. It is a mistake to exclude this crisis from the concerns of the broader progressive movement, especially when reproductive freedom is a basic economic issue for half of the population.

When you are addressing Netroots, you are in a room full of activists from states like Missouri, where women have to wait 72 hours to access abortion. You are being live-streamed from states like Mississippi, where women are fighting tooth and nail to keep their lone clinic open. Women all over the country are being disrespected, called immoral, and talked down to like they are children for having the audacity to say they stand with the majority of Americans who support the right to abortion. 

When you stand up in front of progressives and detail all of the ways that progressive values are mainstream American values and fail to include abortion, you are reinforcing the white male dominance that still holds power in conferences like these.

We activists and advocates are not here to get out your votes, throw the largest parties at Netroots, and then keep applauding as you lay out a broader agenda without us. 

We look forward to hearing you speak authentically on how progressive values include the right to abortion when you address Netroots Nation in St. Louis in 2016. 


Mary Alice Carter
Christina Crisostomo
Emily Crockett
Heather Cronk
Helene de Boissiere
Rebecca Farmer
Johanna Fernandez
Jaclyn Friedman
Gabriel Garcia-Vera
Melissa Green
Paris Hatcher
Katie Hegarty
Norma Jimenez
H Kapp-Klote
Katie Klabusich
Regina Mahone
Erin Matson
Anne Mattson
Pamela Merritt
Tara Murtha
Sean Nicholson
Benjamin O’Keefe
Hemly Ordonez
Rachel Perrone
Dana Rasso
Kelley Robinson
Roger Rosen
Robert Jay Ross
Hannah Elyse Simpson
Kaori Sueyoshi
Robyn Swirling
Jos Truitt
#NN15: Demonstrators From Across The U.S. Protest Controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio In Phoenix
The raucous rally of more than 500 people on Friday made its way from the Phoenix convention center to the Maricopa County sheriff's jail chanting for Arpaio to resign.
By Adrian Carrasquillo

Spurred by the idea that the success of a rally against Sheriff Joe Arpaio would be measured by how many Netroots 15 attendees participated, hundreds of progressives streamed out of the Phoenix convention center to take part Friday.

Follow the march for an Arpaio Free AZ on twitter: @Puente AZ, @Netroots_Nation and look for the #NN15 hashtag!

Posted by

Netroots Nation


Friday, July 17, 2015

Arpaio has been repeatedly sued, including by the Justice Department, over allegations of civil rights violations and racial profiling of Latinos.

People massing at Phoenix convention center for rally against Joe Arpaio #NN15

— Adrian Carrasquillo (@Carrasquillo)

July 17, 2015

In scorching 105-degree heat, the demonstrators from across the U.S. marched toward Arpaio’s jail, telling how similar issues exist in their home cities.

#NN15 rally against Joe Arpaio begins in Phoenix.

— Adrian Carrasquillo (@Carrasquillo)

July 17, 2015

“I can assure you there is a Joe Arpaio in your communities,” Marisa Franco, who leads the #Not1More deportation organization, said.

“Arrest Arpaio not the people!” ringing out in front of Phoenix convention center. #NN15

— Adrian Carrasquillo (@Carrasquillo)

July 17, 2015

Melissa Mark-Viverito, the first Latina City Countil Speaker in New York City, told BuzzFeed News Arpaio’s policies hurt Latinos and over-criminalize low-level offenders.

.@MMViverito NYC city council speaker at Arpaio rally says it’s important to denounce him. #NN15

— Adrian Carrasquillo (@Carrasquillo)

July 17, 2015

A group of undocumented mothers and activists led the singing of Selena’s hit song Como La Flor.

We are dancing in the streets. Literally. In front of Arpaio’s HQ. This movement is joyful too. #ArpaioFreeAZ


July 17, 2015

There were counter-protesters as well. One small group was angry about veteran suicides, while Arthur Olivas claimed Mexicans love Donald Trump, who has described some of them as rapists and criminals.

This man, Arthur Olivas, says he’s American, there is no such thing as Mexican-Americans. #NN15

— Adrian Carrasquillo (@Carrasquillo)

July 17, 2015

Arriving at the jail under the watchful eye of Phoenix police, who facilitated the protest but also filmed it, activists not personally affected by immigration issues spoke about why they also came out to demonstrate.

“Four women are holding this sign,” one activist with progressive Democrats said at one point during the rally. “Four white women,” her friend responded. “How cool is that?”

One of the women, Janice Porter, 68, of Tucson, wore a rainbow Bernie Sanders button and said she was showing solidarity because Arizona is her state. While the issues don’t directly impact her, they hurt people she cares about.

Desiree Vincent, an activist from New York City, said that while immigration isn’t her fight, she believes in the #BlackLivesMatter cause, saying “people here are missing their families at the dinner table.”

Maurice Bradford, a 40-year-old rapper and activist from Southern California, said this is his fight.

Maurice Bradford is a rapper and activist from CA. He said he supports the DREAMers, this is his fight too. #NN15

— Adrian Carrasquillo (@Carrasquillo)

July 17, 2015

“Especially when it comes to black and brown,” he said. “I support the DREAMers — I’m not with separated families.”

LGBTQ activists also made their presence felt in the streets of Phoenix.

In Solidarity #ArpaioFreeAZ #LaLuchaSigue @raylab @Netroots_Nation @PuenteAZ @ImmortalTech @TheADAC

— Undocumedia (@undocumedia)

July 17, 2015

Before the rally, liberal favorite Elizabeth Warren fired up the crowd, taking aim at the state’s hardline immigration law. “Arizona’s SB1070 law is stupid, it is racist, it is unconstitutional and it should be struck down,” she said.

Thank you, #nn15 - Our values are America’s values, and America’s values are progressive values.

— Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma)

July 17, 2015

But outside where a Latina mother lathered her children with sunscreen and pushed a baby carriage protected by a Telemundo Phoenix umbrella, the focus was very much on Arpaio.

“Arpaio-free AZ.” #NN15

— Adrian Carrasquillo (@Carrasquillo)

July 17, 2015

Carlos Figueroa, who brought his family to the rally, said he was in one of Arpaio’s jails, and wanted the community’s voices to be heard and for families to stop being separated. “All we want is justice and to work,” he said.

Carlos Garcia, a longtime advocate who exhorted progressives to support immigration activists, spoke as the rally wrapped up. Asked if the rally was a success, he smiled, said yes, and finished marching.

Carlos Garcia speaking out against Sheriff Joe- deport arpaio not the people

— Alison Harrington (@rev_harrington)

July 17, 2015

h/t: Adrian Carrasquillo at BuzzFeed News