Marissa Johnson, one of two Black Lives Matter activists who took the mic from presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders in downtown Seattle last August, says the heated incident recently has been recast by Sanders supporters as the activists being welcomed onstage.
In the online magazine The Establishment, Johnson described the incident at a rally celebrating the anniversary of Social Security, in which she and Mara Willaford interrupted Sanders’ appearance and forced him to leave the podium without giving his speech.
Johnson and Willaford says they took over the mic and neither Sanders, his campaign nor event organizers welcomed them, Johnson says. However some Sanders supporters, including hip-hop artist Killer Mike, have since claimed that Sanders embraced the interruption and have offered the incident as proof of the candidate’s support of Black Lives Matter.
Johnson says the incident happened differently than in the retelling, as she writes:
What ensued was a highly contentious battle for control of the event between Mara and myself, the event organizers, and Bernie’s campaign that resulted in my speaking at the podium for several minutes, and Senator Sanders leaving the event when we did not allow him to speak. The crowd was outraged, chanting Senator Sanders’ name during a moment of silence for Mike Brown and calling for the police to tase us while throwing water bottles at us on stage.
Read Johnson’s entire account on The Establishment, and read Ijeoma Oluo’s analysis from last August of the reactions that Johnson and Willaford and Black Lives Matter got immediately after the Seattle incident.
Sanders remains very popular in Washington state. He’s held large rallies attended by thousands and he won the Democratic state caucus last month overwhelmingly over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The Establishment: What Killer Mike Got Wrong About My Bernie Sanders Confrontation
The Seattle Globalist: Bernie Sanders, Black Lives Matter and the racial divide in Seattle