Two black women were kicked out of a Hillary Clinton rally Friday for writing “Black Lives Matter” on the back of a Clinton sign they were handed by staff, they told the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) on Saturday.
Meagan Mwanda and Ashona Husbands, who are both Georgia State University freshmen, went to Atlanta’s City Hall to hear the Democratic presidential candidate speak, one week after attending a rally for her rival, Bernie Sanders.
After passing up the opportunity to hold a “Ready for Hillary” board, the sign made its way back to Husbands, who decided to write “Black Lives Matter” on the reverse side and hold it aloft.
The student also wrote the names of three people recently killed and for whom Black Lives Matter has rallied:
On another piece of paper, Mwanda wrote: “I am not a super predator.”
"If you're kicking 2 teens out for bringing this sign, what are you gonna do for our community." Meagan Mwanda, 18 pic.twitter.com/0LogbpbpFh— Shelby Holliday (@shelbyholliday) 26 February 2016
Clinton, the target last of withering critictism on Twitter for her wavering stances on a number of pertinent issues, used the term "super predator" to describe gang members in a 1996 speech in defnse of President Bill Clinton's controversial crime bill, which led to an increased incarceration of African Americans.
Shortly after writing on the sign they were evicted.
“I was on my phone and when I looked up Ashona was gone,” Mwanda said. “She wasn’t loud. She wasn’t chanting. I just looked up and she was gone. A few moments later, someone came for me.”
The students said staffers and men with green military-type uniforms and bulletproof vests escorted them out of the student area, in which they were penned, and told them that their signs and messages were inappropriate and that they would have to leave.
Elizabeth Espy of the Atlanta Police Department said the students were escorted out by plain clothes officers. She said the men in uniform were members of the Atlanta Proactive Enforcement Interdiction Unit.
“I wasn’t being violent or disruptive,” Husbands said. “I am an undecided voter. Hillary Clinton says that black lives matter, but when she speaks about the black community, she kind of glosses over it. I wanted her to see the sign and look at me. I wanted her to say something to win me over. The ironic thing is that the staffer gave me the sign in the first place. If they hadn’t given it to us, I would not have written it down.”
They had told campaign staff that they were undecided as to who they would vote for in the upcoming primary elections and didn’t want to hold the sign.
Clinton’s campaign said late on Friday that neither her staff nor the Secret Service had forcibly removed anyone from the rally.
Last week the Democratic candidate was confronted by two Black Lives Matter activists at a private US$500-a-head fundraising event in Charleston, South Carolina. Activist Ashley Williams demanded that Clinton account for inconsistencies in her record on race, specifically around her "super predator" comments.
"She called our boys ‘super predators’ in ’96, then she race-baited when running against Obama in ‘08, now she’s a lifelong civil rights activist. I just want to know which Hillary is running for President, the one from ’96, ’08, or the new Hillary?” Williams said in a statement.
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