By Mike Lillis - 08-31-16 19:34 PM EDT
Black Lives Matter is going after Democrats for what the group deems a "placating response to our demand to value all black life."
Responding to a leaked memo from the Democrats' campaign arm outlining "best practices" for defusing the group's aggressive protest tactics, Black Lives Matter offered a brusque message Wednesday: "Stop pacifying and take us seriously."
"We are disappointed at the DCCC's placating response to our demand to value all Black life. Black communities deserve to be heard, not handled. People are dying," the group said in a statement.
"Whether Republican, Democrat or otherwise, our elected officials have an ethical and democratic responsibility to make legislation that reflects the needs of their constituents. That includes Black people facing life-threatening challenges because of racist, failed policies."
The memo in question, issued last November to staff within the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), noted that the party's presidential hopefuls had "struggled" when faced with Black Lives Matter protests and offered advice for House candidates to avoid similarly uncomfortable confrontations.
The memo emphasized that campaign staffers "should offer to meet with local activists" and "let activists know the campaign wants to engage in an open dialogue." It suggested setting up "personal or small group meetings" in lieu of public forums and advised campaigns to convey an understanding that "a history of systemic racism continues to confront the daily lives of African Americans."
"Listen to their concerns," reads one bullet point.
"Don't offer support for concrete policy positions," reads another.
The DCCC issued a statement Wednesday following the leak, saying the party "highly respects and values the leadership of the Black Lives Matter movement" and "highly encourage[s] our candidates to not only embrace the importance of this movement, but to meet with and listen to community activists to partner social change."
The message didn't appear to mollify the concerns Black Lives Matter leaders had with the tone of the initial memo. Their statement came out several hours later, urging policymakers of all stripes to give greater urgency to race-related issues.
"We demand, and are fighting every day for, a radical transformation of American democracy where all Black lives are valued," the group said.
"We encourage all policymakers and elected officials to read the Movement for Black Lives policy platform and commit to legislation in the first 100 days that ensures that #BlackLivesMatter."