Black Pastors to Ocasio-Cortez: ‘Stop Co-Opting Civil Rights Movement’

US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (R) is welcomed by the Reverend Al Sharpton speaks during a gathering of the National Action Network April 5, 2019 in New York. (Photo by Don Emmert / AFP) (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

The leader of an organization of black pastors directly addressed Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, insisting she “stop co-opting the civil rights movement” to advance her political agenda.

Rev. William Owens, president of the Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP), said it was necessary for those who marched in America’s civil rights movement to defend it against the efforts of individuals, such as Ocasio-Cortez, who are co-opting their sacrifice.

“Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has fallen into the bad habit of comparing her political goals to the American civil rights movement,” said Owens in a press statement. “While it is obvious she understands the importance of that movement, she does not seem to realize that her statements trivialize the work of those who marched.”

As Breitbart News reported last week, Ocasio-Cortez took to an Instagram Live broadcast, in which, while she was eating, compared climate change deniers to those who fought against the civil rights movement.

“There a lot of people who hide the fact that their families and their grandparents fought against the principles of equal rights in the United States,” the representative from New York said, adding that it was “not 100 years ago, not 80 years ago, but in this generation’s lifetime. She continued:

So just know that while a lot of people can hide what their grandparents did … in the civil rights movement, you should also know that the Internet documents everything. And your grandchildren will not be able to hide the fact that you fought against acknowledging and taking bold action against climate change.

Owens asserted, however, that Ocasio-Cortez’s attempt to use the civil rights movement to advance her own political agenda is “disrespectful.”

“Speaking as someone who was there, lived through Jim Crow, and marched with Dr. King, it is disrespectful to see Rep. Ocasio-Cortez try to use that movement for her own political ends,” Owens said.

“Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is attempting to borrow the dignity of a great political movement to lend legitimacy to her own proposals,” he concluded. “But her ideas must stand or fall on their own merits, not ride on the suffering and pain of others.”

CAAP has launched a petition calling upon Ocasio-Cortez to stop co-opting the civil rights movement. The petition reads:

We, the undersigned, marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  in the late 1950s and early 1960s in Nashville, Tennessee. We were students at Fisk University, Meharry Medical College and American Baptist College. And today, we join with our fellow Americans in objecting to your use of the Civil Rights Movement in a misguided effort to promote your unrelated progressive agenda.

“Attempting to use the civil rights movement for your own purposes reflects poorly on your knowledge of history and appears disrespectful and dismissive,” continues the petition, which can be accessed in full here.

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