Why I Am a White Liberal Who Supports Both Bernie Sanders and the Black Lives Matter Protestors

Mara Jacqueline Willaford, left, holds her fist overhead as Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., wav
Mara Jacqueline Willaford, left, holds her fist overhead as Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., waves to greet the crowd before speaking at a rally Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, in downtown Seattle. Willaford and another co-founder of the Seattle chapter of Black Lives Matter took over the microphone just after Sanders began to speak and refused to relinquish it. Sanders eventually left the stage without speaking further and instead waded into the crowd to greet supporters. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Let me preface this by saying that I am white. I am also gay and I identify as both a liberal, and a protest coordinator and activist for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. I have personally been involved with and put together events here in Philadelphia, where segregation and racism are rampant, to bring light to the issue of BLM.

Let me be clear, this was NOT an attack on Bernie Sanders, but a critique of white "liberals," who claim to support the movement, insofar that it doesn't call their lack of activism on the issue into account. I am truly astounded by the response of supposed "liberals" that are hellbent on silencing black voices and disregarding the movement.

I am surprised by how many people say things like, "I support the BLM movement, but, I disagree with how they interrupted his event." These are the same people that are shutting down black voices and hijacking every thread concerning the demonstration and going to extremes to defend their lack of involvement in the BLM movement.

It seems that white "liberals" are only in "support" of the movement to the point that they aren't called out on the fact that race is an actual issue and that not a single thing has been done to address it, even within liberal circles. I find it ironic that these people who claim to agree with the movement, simultaneously have not done a single thing to be a part of the movement, or address any of the issues it confronts.

For those that want to wage absurd conspiracy theories about the activists being conservative, Sarah Palin supporters, that argument has already been shut down by one of the protestors herself. How about instead of trying to find ways to support your lack of involvement, you find ways to support people that are on your side, but are facing very real injustices?

Speaking of involvement, I've seen the "criticism" that the BLM movement is not open to allies. Really? Because, I am white and gay and I have never felt more accepted within a movement than I have with BLM. Actually, all of the BLM protests I have attended, or organized, have been comprised of at least 50% of white people. What we don't need is criticizers, who aren't involved, but want to enter the conversation with nothing but criticism about what we do, having never been actually involved with the movement.

Oh, and for those that claim the "real" Black Lives Matter movement doesn't agree with the actions of the Seattle protestors, just shows your true ignorance of the movement. We are not an organized group. We do not have leadership. Anyone is free and able to take action in their own way, use the hashtag, and be a part of this critical movement to free black people from institutionalized oppression.

You know why ‪BLM‬ protestors addressed a crowd of liberals? Because that is exactly the crowd that needs to hear it. Conservatives aren't going to do anything to address these issues, so we need to get fellow liberals involved, because frankly, black people are being disproportionately incarcerated, kept in poverty, and murdered by police. Every liberal claims to agree with BLM, yet nothing has changed. In fact, it's getting worse! The reaction from the left proves exactly why this interruption was needed. Instead of criticizing, how about getting off your computer and helping us figure out how we change things.