Black Lives Matter activist, Brittany Packnett, sat beside President Obama at a table in the Roosevelt Room of the White House for a unique meeting of the minds.
In what is dubbed by the White House an “inter-generational” meeting, Black Lives Matter activist, Brittany Packnett, sat beside President Barack Obama at a table in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.
The 90 minutes meeting on Thursday afternoon was set to discuss how the President could spend his final year in office tackling issues that impact the black community.
Also present at the meeting were, Al Sharpton, the founder and president of the National Action Network, Wade Henderson, the president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and fellow protestor and Campaign Zero co-founder Deray McKesson.
Their discussion covered issues relating to criminal justice reform, working on police violence, systemic educational inequities, voting rights and the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice. They also discussed use of force policies, including hog-tying and shoot-to-kill.
DeRay McKesson, discussed the push for police union contracts and use of force policies to reflect and not impede justice. He asked the president to carefully examine use of force in federal law enforcement agencies and ensure they explicitly prioritize the preservation of life.
According to Packnett, President Obama agreed to investigate those issues on the federal level.
Although Chicago activist and Black Lives Matter co-founder, Aislinn Pulley, declined to attend the meeting saying she was not interested in being a part of what she called “a photo opportunity and a 90-second sound bite for the president”, it was hailed productive by all sides at the table.
“A lot of the conversation was not just about what can happen in the next ten months, but in the next 10 years as we come together and continue to do the work,” Packnett says. “One of the most important things that the president said was for all of us to continue to focus on the work.”
After the meeting, President Obama called it a robust conversation, saying “there’s no better way for us to celebrate Black History Month.”
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