Civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton wants major change to happen under the upcoming Joe Biden administration, and he challenged Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to promise to do so during a recent virtual meeting.
The virtual meeting was between Biden, Harris and Black leaders including Sharpton, founder of the National Action Network; Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League; and NAACP President Derrick Johnson, among others. During the meeting, Black leaders laid out what they expect from the incoming administration.
Sharpton recalled being with Biden at the funeral of police killing victim George Floyd in Houston. At the funeral, Biden tenderly spoke with Floyd’s six-year-old daughter, something Sharpton said gave him hope for the future White House. Sharpton delivered the eulogy at Floyd’s funeral.
“That day I said ‘We [Black people] are not looking for better slave masters, we’re looking fro freedom’,” said Sharpton to Biden during the virtual meeting. “And you stood up and said ‘I am right.’ I was directing that at an opponent of yours because some people come in at the last minute and say they’re progressive, throw their fist in the air and we’re [Black America] conned by that.”
Sharpton continued, “I’m very happy that you’re there, I’m very happy that Sen. Harris is there…not because of your records, your positions but I’ve seen you hold George Floyd’s daughter’s hand. And Sen. Harris I saw you hold Eric Garner’s mother’s hand. That’s the kind of president and vice president we need to turn that compassion into some concrete legislation and the policies we need so that we’re not just holding hands but we’re moving forward.”
Floyd, 46, was an unarmed Black man killed in May by Minneapolis police during an arrest. His killing sparked worldwide protests against police brutality.
Garner, an unarmed 43-year-old Black man, died in July 2014 in the New York City borough of Staten Island after Daniel Pantaleo, a New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer, put him in a prohibited chokehold while arresting him.
The Biden-Harris virtual meeting took place Dec. 8, and video of the meeting was obtained by The Intercept.
Sharpton and others said during the meeting that they are expecting major policy changes from Biden that will benefit Black America.
Sharpton’s remarks sparked debate on Twitter.
Ryan Grim, author of 2019’s “We’ve Got People: From Jesse Jackson to AOC, the End of Big Money and the Rise of a Movement,” tweeted, “Tells Biden that Rahm covering up the Laquan McDonald murder was ‘unpardonable.'”
Seventeen-year-old McDonald was killed by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke on October 20, 2014.
During Biden’s meeting with civil rights leaders, Biden also lambasted the use of the term “defund the police” And blamed vital Senate losses on this. According the Biden, Republicans’ ability to peg Democrats as the party of defunding the police is “how they beat the living hell out of us across the country.”
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 73: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin makes the case for why this is a multi-factor rebellion vs. just protests about George Floyd. He discusses the Democratic Party’s sneaky relationship with the police in cities and states under Dem control, and why Joe Biden is a cop and the Steve Jobs of mass incarceration.
“I just raise it with you to think about how much we push between now and January 5 — we need those two seats — about police reform. But I guarantee you, there will be a full-blown commission. I guarantee you it’s a major, major, major element,” Biden said.