Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, likened President Donald Trump to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler during an interview with the Los Angeles Times published on Friday.
Cullors said that the anti-racism activist group would not meet with the president, if invited, because he is “the epitome of evil.”
“We wouldn’t as a movement take a seat at the table with Trump, because we wouldn’t have done that with Hitler,” Cullors said.
She added, “Trump is literally the epitome of evil, all the evils of this country — be it racism, capitalism, sexism, homophobia.”
Cullors said the group is focused on resisting government policies that harm black communities and on drawing attention to racism and police brutality and does not see a place for negotiation with the Trump administration.
“For us, the answer is not to sit with him but to resist him and to resist every single policy that he’s implemented that impacts our communities,” she said, adding that the president is “killing our communities.”
Cullors said this month’s violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the broader relevance of white nationalist movements in the US, is in part a reaction to the activism of groups like Black Lives Matter, which was founded in response to the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager who was shot by a neighbourhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, in Florida.
“I think part of what we’re seeing in the rise of white nationalism is their response to Black Lives Matter, is their response to an ever-increasing fight for equal rights, for civil rights and for human rights,” Cullors said.
She explained that one of the group’s central goals is to reduce funding for law enforcement across the country, and have tax-payer money instead invested in education, housing, and other essential services in poor communities.
Cullors affirmed Black Lives Matter’s commitment to non-violent action, but argued that the police should do more to defend protesters of colour, referencing the experience of many anti-racist counterprotesters at the rally in Virginia, who felt they were not adequately protected by law enforcement in the face of the heavily armed Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi marchers.
“Many folks that were on the ground said the police were not helpful at all,” Cullors said. “And yet when Black Lives Matter hits the streets, when we are nonviolent, we’re the first ones to be snatched up by police. We’re the first ones to be beaten by police.”
Trump, who drew widespread condemnation for drawing moral equivalence between the white supremacist marchers and anti-racist counterprotesters in Virginia, has called Black Lives Matter a “threat” and accused the group of inciting violence against police officers. Last month, Trump appeared to advocate for police misconduct, telling police officers not to be “too nice” to individuals they arrest — a remark that received criticism from civil rights activists and law enforcement alike.
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