- The Washington Times - Friday, October 23, 2015

The “Black Lives Matter” network rejected an offer by the Democratic National Committee Friday to sponsor a town-hall event for presidential candidates to focus on racial injustice, and renewed the call for a formal presidential debate devoted to the activists’ issues.

“We remain unequivocal that a presidential town hall with support from the DNC does not sufficiently respond to the concerns raised by our members,” the group said in a statement. “We want a debate supported by the DNC that will speak directly and proactively to the issues impacting black people in this country.”

Both major political parties offered this week to host a presidential town hall event focused on issues of racial justice. But both the DNC and the Republican National Committee said they will not add a formal debate to the 2016 presidential debate schedule.

The Black Lives Matter network said that’s not good enough and has launched a petition drive to get a presidential debate devoted to its themes.

“We deserve better,” the group said. “Debates that are shaped by the corporate media will never adequately address the issues we care about. We renew our call for more debates, including a debate that takes seriously the most pressing issues of our time.”

On Thursday, President Obama spoke out on behalf of the movement, saying racial bias and excessive force in law enforcement are “a legitimate issue we’ve got to address.”

The organization said it wants the candidates to focus on issues including “over policing and blue on black violence; violence and economic disenfranchisement of transgender people; patterns of incarceration leading to the world’s most bloated prison industry; systemic and historic forms of economic policies that level black communities; attacks on organized labor and the dismantling of the safety net, the criminalization of immigrants, and more.”

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