Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) praised the “brilliance” of the Black Lives Matter movement and its founders in a conversation with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) on Friday.
Harris, who is Joe Biden’s running mate on the Democratic Party presidential ticket, was asked specifically to respond to claims that Black Lives Matter is a “terrorist” organization, which the interviewer attributed to President Donald Trump.
(Trump has referred to “terrorists” in specific demonstrations, but has not called the movement itself a terrorist organization. His new black empowement policy, released on Friday, names the Ku Klux Klan and Antifa as terrorist organizations.)
She was also asked about the founders of the movement, who were recently featured by Time magazine among the 100 most influential people of 2020.
Harris spoke about the “brilliance and the impact of Black Lives Matter,” and the “brilliance” of its founders “in conceiving it,” and explained:
I actually believe as a former prosecutor, that Black Lives Matter has been the most significant agent for change within the criminal justice system. Because it has been a counter force to the force within the system that is so grounded in status quo and in its own traditions, many of which have been harmful, and have been discriminatory in the way they’ve been enforced.
Harris spoke about her own experience attending a Black Lives Matter protest in May in Washington, DC. Harris joined demonstrators outside the White House on May 30, where activists had attacked police officers and journalists hours before. She explained that she grew up attending anti-apartheid protests with her parents, who met in the civil rights movement.
Nothing that we have achieved in our country that has been about progress, in particular around civil rights, has come without a fight. And so I always am going to interpret these protests as an essential component of evolution in our country, as an essential component, or mark, of a real democracy, and as necessary, as necessary. The people’s voices must be heard. And it is often the people who must speak to get their government to do what it is supposed to do, but may not do naturally, unless the people speak loudly — and obviously peacefully — but speak loudly.
The founders of Black Lives Matter — Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi — are far left-wing radicals. Cullors has identified herself and Garza as “trained Marxists,” and Opal Tometi is a supporter of Venezuelan socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro.