During a discussion panel at Netroots Nation with Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders, Democratic presidential candidates, protesters took the stage to demonstrate for the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

“Will you put forward a racial justice agenda that will dismantle, not reform, not make progress, but will begin to dismantle the structural racism in the United States?” asked Tia Oso, a Phoenix-area activist.

Both O’Malley and Sanders appeared to be greeted with hostility by the crowd as they addressed the issue of justice reform.


Netroots Nation issued the following statement after the event:

Netroots Nation stands in solidarity with all people seeking human rights.

With today’s Town Hall, our aim was to give presidential candidates a chance to respond to the issues facing the many diverse communities represented here.

Although we wish the candidates had more time to respond to the issues, what happened today is reflective of an urgent moment that America is facing today.

In 2016, we’re heading to St. Louis. We plan to work with activists there just as we did in Phoenix with local leaders, including the #BlackLivesMatter movement, to amplify issues like racial profiling and police brutality in a major way.

It is necessary and vital to continue this conversation. We look forward to doing so in the coming year.