Activists from the Black Lives Matter movement are demanding that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) hold a presidential debate centered on racial justice in America.
The group told DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), via aÂ petitionÂ posted at Color of Change Tuesday,Â that black voters “deserve substantive responses and policy recommendations” from the Democratic field.
Just saying Black Lives Matter isn’t enough. Sign the petition: pic.twitter.com/bCtpamWOFr
– Black Lives Matter (@Blklivesmatter) October 20, 2015
“This last year alone has demonstrated clearly that black lives are under attack–from police violence to the murders of black trans women to economic disenfranchisement and neoliberal polices,” the petition read. “It’s time to extend the public conversation beyond the status quo.”
The Republican National Convention will host 12 presidential debates during the 2016 election cycle, and candidates including Bernie Sanders andÂ Martin O’Malley, as well as two top DNC staff members have asked the DNC to hold more debates in order to give Democrats more opportunities to air their views.
Activists who support the movement say that the limited number of debates allows DNC candidates to pay scant attention to issues like poverty in the black community, mass incarceration, and police brutality due to race.
“We want to hear candidates debate and offer tangible solutions to the myriad issues impacting black people. Lifting the unfair restriction on the number of debates and supporting a Black Lives Matter presidential debate is a step in the right direction.”