Last year Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee issued a memo recommending to not offer any support to the Black Lives Matter movement members.
The document was posted online by Guccifer 2.0, a hacker who has claimed to be responsible for the Democratic National Committee email leak. Guccifer claims the document is from the personal computer of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
“Presidential candidates have struggled to respond to tactics of the Black Lives Matter movement,” reads the memo, sent by a Committee staffer in November. “While there has been little engagement with House candidates, candidates and campaign staff should be prepared. This document should not be emailed or handed to anyone outside of the building. Please only give campaign staff these best practices in meetings or over the phone.”
Black Lives Matter has become a force during the 2016 election by repeatedly calling on presidential candidates to address the systemic inequalities faced by black Americans. The movement has offered policy suggestions, held demonstrations and interrupted presidential campaign speeches in order to call attention to anti-black racism.
The memo, which describes BLM as a “radical movement” that aims to “end ‘anti-black racism,’” lists several suggestions for how Democratic congressional candidates should handle an encounter with a Black Lives Matter activist.
“If approached by BLM activists, campaign staff should offer to meet with local activists,” the memo reads. “Invited BLM attendees should be limited. Please aim for personal or small group meetings.”
“Listen to their concerns,” it continues. “Don’t offer support for concrete policy positions.”
The memo includes advice on what, exactly, to say to Black Lives Matter activists. It recommends avoiding phrases like “all lives matter” and warns not to bring up “black on black crime,” since the “response will garner additional media scrutiny and only anger BLM activists.”
House Democrats were also advised to say that police violence requires a national conversation, and to acknowledge that “a history of systemic racism continues to confront the daily lives of African Americans.”
As soon as the memo was made public, Meredith Kelly, national press secretary for the DCCC, apologized and claimed that the Committee ‘highly respects and values’ the Black Lives Matter movement.
“We will not allow this hacking to distract from our common goals nor disparage the BLM movement,” Kelly went on. “We continue to welcome further engagement with activists and BLM leaders nationwide” (Weren’t these words also noted as preferable in some other note?)