Patrisse Cullors, one of the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement, has sent a letter to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris congratulating them on their victory.
Cullors also asked for a meeting with them to “discuss the expectations we have of your government and the commitments that must be made to the blacks.
She pointed out that blacks played a crucial role in achieving the election results, and urged Biden and Harris to make a “well thought-out, community-driven and fully resourced agenda that addresses the specific challenges facing blacks” a top priority.
“Congratulations on your election to the presidency and vice presidency of the United States,” Cullors wrote in the letter presented in Washington on Newsday. “Like so many, we are relieved that the Trump era in government is coming to an end”.
Cullors said Black Lives Matter wanted to “actively participate in the planning and political work of the Biden Harris transition team.
“Without the resounding support of the blacks, we would have to expect a very different election result,” Cullors wrote. “In short, the blacks won this election.”
She added: “In addition to black-led organizations across the nation, Black Lives Matter invested heavily in this election… We want something for our vote. We want to be heard and make our agenda a priority.”
According to polls, 87 percent of black voters voted for Biden, while only 12 percent voted for President Donald Trump. Their votes were instrumental in ensuring that the controversial states – Washington, Michigan and Pennsylvania – secured the 270 votes of the electoral college needed to win the White House.
In her letter, Cullors noted that blacks are “the most consistent and reliable voters for the Democrats” and “truly live in crisis in a nation built on our subjugation.
She added: “Up to this point, the United States has refused to directly reckon with how they devalue blacks and destroy our lives. This cannot continue.
“Black people cannot afford to live through the vitriol of a Trump-like presidency, nor through the indifference of a Democratic-controlled government that refuses to wrestle with its most outrageous and damnable shame.
Cullors noted that both Biden and Harris discussed the issue of systemic racism as a central theme of their campaigns and expressed regret about their records on issues affecting blacks.
In their Saturday night victory speeches, both Biden and Harris acknowledged and thanked the black community.
Black women are “the backbone of our democracy,” Harris said. She will be the first woman, as well as the first black woman and the first Indian woman in America to serve as the nation’s vice president.
In a subtle reference to the Black Lives Matter protests that took place this year, Harris also noted that Americans “marched and organized for equality and justice, for our lives and for our planet. And then you voted. You sent a clear message.”
“The African American community has stood up for me again,” Biden said in his remarks. “You are always behind me and I will always be behind you.”
The official Biden Harris transition website listed racial equality as one of four priorities (the others being COVID-19, economic recovery and climate change) and outlined how the government intends to combat systemic racism in the United States.
In her letter, however, Cullors told Biden and Harris: “The best way to ensure that you are correcting past mistakes and working toward a more just future for blacks-and therefore for all people-is to be guided by black grassroots organizations that have been engaged in this work for decades, with a legacy dating back to the first arrival of enslaved Africans.
“We look forward to meeting with you whenever it suits you to begin the immediate work to liberate black people.
The Biden Harris Transition has been asked for comments….