Black Lives Matter Marchers 'Really Shocked' At Sanders' Seattle Crowd | KUOW News and Information

Black Lives Matter Marchers 'Really Shocked' At Sanders' Seattle Crowd

Aug 10, 2015

People marching in a Black Lives Matter protest in Seattle on Sunday said they were upset by how a largely white crowd reacted to the disruption of Bernie Sanders’ rally the day before.

"I was really shocked and just taken aback of the way the crowd reacted to the two young women that courageously took over the stage,” said K.L. Shannon, a board member with the Seattle NAACP chapter who marched. “It sent a clear message on how they really feel about black people."

The march from Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood to the Central Area brought out a couple hundred people on the one-year anniversary of the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

On Saturday during Sanders’ rally in Westlake Park, two black women jumped up on either side of the Democratic presidential candidate as he prepared to speak.

The women threatened that if they didn’t get to speak, the event would be shut down.

After a brief negotiation, event organizers acquiesced and gave the women time at the mic as Sanders stood to the side.

There were boos from the crowd.

“I was going to tell Bernie how racist this city is, filled with its progressives, but you already did it for me. Thank you,” said one of the two women, Seattle Black Lives Matter co-founder Marissa Johnson.

“Now that you’ve covered yourself and your white supremacist liberalism, I will formerly welcome Bernie Sanders to Seattle.”

Johnson asked for four and a half minutes of silence to honor Brown. The silence was first interrupted by chants of “Let him speak” and “Bernie, Bernie,” but a minute in, most everyone in the crowd of thousands fell quiet.

But Sanders never got to deliver his speech, though he spoke to thousands later at the University of Washington.

Activists from the Seattle chapter of Black Lives Matter took over the stage at a rally for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Saturday evening.
Credit KUOW Photo/Hannah Burn

At Sunday night’s march, which ended at Garfield High School shortly after 9 p.m., Shannon expressed disappointment in Seattle's "so-called white liberal community." 

“It made it very clear to me that there is not support for the Black Lives Matter movement here in Seattle,” she said.

Some older members of Seattle's black community said they're inspired by the recent and renewed activism from communities of color.

"I'm very proud of them and any young person that's willing to speak truth to power, with the right guidance,” said Khalif Muhammad, who watched Sunday’s march from a bus stop. “I'm with them."

Correction, 11:40 a.m., 8/10/2015: In an earlier version of this story, Khalif Muhammad's first name was misspelled.