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Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Requests Meeting With Biden, Harris: 'We Want Something For Our Vote'

Newsweek logo Newsweek 11/9/2020 Khaleda Rahman
a group of people walking down a street in front of a crowd: People celebrate at Black Lives Matter Plaza across from the White House in Washington, DC on November 7, 2020, after Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election. © Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images People celebrate at Black Lives Matter Plaza across from the White House in Washington, DC on November 7, 2020, after Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election.

Patrisse Cullors, one of the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement, has sent a letter to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, congratulating them on their win.

Cullors also requested a meeting with the pair to "discuss the expectations that we have for your administration and the commitments that must be made to Black people."

Noting that Black people had played a vital role in delivering the election outcome, she called on Biden and Harris to make a "well-thought out, community-driven, fully resourced agenda that addresses the particular challenges faced by Black people" a top priority.

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"Congratulations on your election to the Presidency and Vice-Presidency of the United States," Cullors wrote in the letter, which was provided to Newsweek. "Like so many, we are relieved that the Trump era in government is coming to a close."

Cullors said Black Lives Matter want to be "actively engaged" in the Biden-Harris transition team's planning and policy work.

"Without the resounding support of Black people, we would be saddled with a very different electoral outcome," Cullors wrote. "In short, Black people won this election."

She added: "Alongside Black-led organizations around the nation, Black Lives Matter invested heavily in this election... We want something for our vote. We want to be heard and our agenda to be prioritized."

According to exit polls, 87 percent of Black voters chose Biden while only 12 percent went for President Donald Trump. Their votes were crucial in flipping the battleground states—Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania—that secured the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House.

In her letter, Cullors noted that Black people are "the most consistent and reliable voters for Democrats" and are "truly living in crisis in a nation that was built on our subjugation."

She added: "Up until this point, the United States has refused to directly reckon with the way that it devalues Black people and devastates our lives. This cannot continue.

"Black people can neither afford to live through the vitriol of a Trump-like Presidency, nor through the indifference of a Democrat-controlled government that refuses to wrestle with its most egregious and damnable shame."

Cullors noted that both Biden and Harris discussed addressing systemic racism as central to their election campaigns and had expressed regrets about their records on issues impacting Black people.

In their victory speeches on Saturday night, both Biden and Harris acknowledged and thanked the Black community.

Black women are "the backbone of our democracy," Harris said. She will be the first woman, as well as the first Black person and first Indian American person, to serve as the nation's vice president.

In a subtle nod to Black Lives Matter protests that have taken place this year, Harris also noted that Americans "marched and organized for equality and justice, for our lives, and for our planet. And then, you voted. You delivered a clear message."

"The African American community stood up again for me," Biden said in his remarks. "They always have my back, and I'll have yours."

The official Biden-Harris transition website has listed racial equity as one of its four priorities (the others are COVID-19, economic recovery and climate change) and outlined the ways the administration intends to tackle systemic racism in the U.S.

But in her letter, Cullors told Biden and Harris: "The best way to ensure that you remedy past missteps and work towards a more just future for Black people—and by extension all people—is to take your direction from Black grassroots organizers that have been engaged in this work for decades, with a legacy that spans back to the first arrival of enslaved Africans.

"We look forward to meeting with you at your convenience to begin the immediate work of Black liberation."

The Biden-Harris transition has been contacted for comment.

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