thedailybeast: Who was *really* behind the #BlackLivesMatter protests vs. #BernieSanders?
Pretty good piece from the daily beast that addresses some of the issues that a few of us had at the time...
1) the dubious relationship between the protesters / agent provocateurs and BLM.
2) given the current BLM organizational structure (or lack thereof) it's difficult for legitimate members to challenge rogue elements within the movement.
...Nikki Stephens, 16, was hit with a barrage of Facebook messages and texts on Saturday night.
“My phone was blowing up,” Stephens says. “Everyone automatically assumed I was one of the two women”—the protesters who took over the Sanders event in Seattle.
Stephens, a high schooler and track athlete, had the keys to the “Black Lives Matter: Seattle” Facebook page. She had “watched the video from all angles” of Johnson and Willaford, and now—as the de facto voice of Black Lives Matter: Seattle, she believed—it was her turn to speak.
She had been drawn into the movement months ago by an activist who came to her school and compelled her to take action on the recent spate of young black men killed by police.
“I wanted to raise awareness—that this is not a joke. That people are actually dying,” she says. “That’s why I made the page.”
With the help and guidance of her friend, she started sharing stories of injustice and dispatches from the national chapter. Quickly, her page grew to be the largest Black Lives Matter page in Seattle.
Then Johnson and Willaford, whom Stephens had never met, took over the podium at the Bernie Sanders’ campaign event last weekend.
“I felt like I had to come up with a response,” she says.
There was, however, a problem: Stephens is a Bernie Sanders supporter. Panicked, she called her friend who had gotten her into the movement to plan her next move.
“I was like, ‘What should I do? I don’t really know what to do,’” she says.
As the night progressed, she started receiving messages filled with hate, threats, and racial slurs—especially, she says, from Bernie Sanders fans. They all wanted an apology—one for something she didn’t do.
So she crafted one.
“To the people of Seattle and #BernieSanders I am so sorry for what happened today in Seattle. I am a volunteer who just runs this page and I am only just starting to get into the movement,” she wrote. “I was unaware of what happened and now that I’ve seen the video I would like to say again that I am sorry. That is not what Black Lives Matter stands for and that is not what we’re about. Do not let your faith in the movement be shaken by voices of two people. Please do not question our legitimacy as a movement. Again I would like to apologize to the people of Seattle and I will be trying to reach out to Mr. Sanders.”
Some in the national media ran with it. ‘Black Lives Matter’ had apologized.
That’s when Stephens received messages from both Marissa Johnson and Mara Willaford.
“Of course, you can’t tell tone by text. But when they approached me, through texting, it felt sort of aggressive,” says Stephens. “But it wasn’t like they were mad. They were like, ‘Who are you? Why’d you start your page?’”
They told Stephens to change the name of her page—that she had no claim to Black Lives Matter: Seattle...
This certainly sounds to me like a disruption operation is going on to scramble the message of BLM.