Obama To Meet With Civil Rights, Black Lives Matter Activists

The White House told BuzzFeed News that President Obama will host a landmark meeting with activists from the Black Lives Matter and civil rights movements on Thursday. Icons like Wade Henderson and John Lewis will meet with movement leaders like Brittany Packnett, Aislinn Pulley and DeRay Mckesson.

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

WASHINGTON — President Obama will meet with two generations of civil rights leaders on Thursday afternoon, BuzzFeed News has learned.

Obama will convene leaders from the two generations of civil rights activists in the Roosevelt Room. The attendees will attend the Black History Month reception with the the president and First Lady, the White House said. Attorney General Loretta Lynch will also be in attendance.

“On Thursday afternoon, President Obama will meet with a group of civil rights leaders prior to the annual White House Black History Month reception to discuss a range of issues including the Administration’s efforts on criminal justice reform, building trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve and the president’s priorities during his final year in office,” a senior administration official told BuzzFeed News in an email.

A White House official said Obama — a bridge between the generations of leaders — will preside over the conversation between the leaders and members of his administration.

Here is a list of the attendees, per the White House:

• Aislinn Pulley, Co-Founder and Lead Organizer with Black Lives Matter Chicago

• Al Sharpton, Founder and President of the National Action Network

• Ben Crump, President of the National Bar Association

• Brittany Packnett, Member of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Co-Founder of We The Protestors and Campaign Zero

• C.T. Vivian, Civil Rights Leader and Author

• Carlos Clanton, President of the National Urban League Young Professionals

• Cornell Brooks, President of the NAACP

• Deray Mckesson, Co-Founder of We the Protestors and Campaign Zero

• Deshaunya Ware, Student Leader of Concerned Student 1950 at University of Missouri

• John Lewis, United States Representative (D-GA)

• Marc Morial, President of the National Urban League

• Mary Patricia Hector, National Youth Director of the National Action Network

• Melanie Campbell, President of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation

• Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of Color of Change

• Sherrilyn Ifill, President of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund

• Stephen Green, National Director of the NAACP Youth and College Division

• Wade Henderson, President of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The meeting comes just nine days before the South Carolina Democratic primary, where Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are both jockeying for position with the high percentage of black voters.

On Tuesday, Obama delivered some of his most expansive remarks on the election, saying he knew Clinton better than Sanders because she served as his secretary of state. It was the president’s victory there in 2008 that helped propel him to the nomination.

Clinton herself on Tuesday met with civil rights leaders at the headquarters of the National Urban League, including Marc Morial and Al Sharpton. Afterwards, Clinton delivered remarks at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. She said ending racial inequality would be “the mission” of her presidency.

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Darren Sands is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C.
Contact Darren Sands at darren.sands@buzzfeed.com.

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