Veteran civil rights leaders in the Los Angeles area continue to criticize Black Lives Matter after the group disrupted a meeting between the black community and Mayor Eric Garcetti last month, forcing him to flee.
“They seem like a one-trick pony and all they can do is disrupt and make noise,” Najee Ali, director of Project Islamic Hope, told the Los Angeles Times. Other civil rights organizers in the Los Angeles area agree.
At the meeting, about 50 Black Lives Matter activists stood and turned their backs to Garcetti. Later, they rushed the podium. When he fled outside under police protection, they surrounded his car and briefly stopped it from moving.
Garrett has had a troubled relationship with the black community over policing, and has left the impression that he cares more about fundraising than repairing trust.
But civil rights leaders say the activists are going too far.
“Because the lives of Black people matter, your disrespect and verbal violence will not be a weapon of mass distraction to our resolve,” said Pastor Kelvin Sauls of the Holman United Methodist Church, where the disruption occurred.
Black Lives Matter activists say more patient tactics failed. And it is not unusual for the radicals of the past to be shocked by the tactics of a new generation–the same was true of sit-ins in the 1950s and 1960s.
Yet the key to the civil rights movement was reaching out to the other side on the basis of shared humanity, and projecting an image of higher responsibility and moral authority.
That isn’t happening, Ali told the Los Angeles Times: “With Black Lives Matter being a new organization with young activists, they don’t have the experience or discipline to be more effective advocates.”
The result: a public backlash, and no progress.