Chicago Black Lives Matter Leader Says No to Obama Meeting

Aislinn Pulley called the meeting of civil rights leaders a “90-second sound bite.”

Photo via the Twitter account of Valerie Jarrett, the president's senior advisor

Yesterday, for the White House’s annual Black History Month reception, black activists and leaders from all over the country traveled to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to participate in a meeting with the president about criminal justice reform. Those who attended included DeRay Mckesson, a Baltimore activist who is running for mayor of the city; Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; and Al Sharpton. But at least one person refused the invitation: Aislinn Pulley, a co-founder of Chicago’s Black Lives Matter chapter. In an op-ed on Truthout, Pulley explained her decision to turn down the opportunity.

“I was under the impression that a meeting was being organized to facilitate a genuine exchange on the matters facing millions of Black and Brown people in the United States,” she wrote. “Instead, what was arranged was basically a photo opportunity and a 90-second sound bite for the president. I could not, with any integrity, participate in such a sham that would only serve to legitimize the false narrative that the government is working to end police brutality and the institutional racism that fuels it.”

Pulley has been involved in many Chicago-based social justice efforts, including a campaign urging the resignation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel for the city’s treatment of the police killing of 16-year old Laquan McDonald, a black teenager who was shot 16 times by police officer Jason Van Dyke, and for the mismanagement of Chicago schools. She writes in her op-ed that a conversation about criminal justice cannot help unless the word “criminal” were redefined to include people like Emanual, who imposed a $200 million budget cut on the Chicago educational system, or State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, for trying to bury the video of McDonald’s shooting.

“If the administration is serious about addressing the issues of Black Lives Matter Chicago—and its sister organizations that go by different names across this nation—they can start by meeting the simple demands of families who want transparency, and who want police that kill Black people unjustly to be fired, indicted, and held accountable,” she wrote.

Mckesson, who is frequently associated with Black Lives Matter but has in the past denied connections to the official Black Lives Matter organization, said the meeting was a useful one.

“We had a really strong conversation,” Mckesson said. “We covered so many topics from policing contracts to use-of-force policies to Flint and the school-to-prison pipeline to the upcoming Supreme Court nomination.”


Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

Keep Reading Show less
Good News

An anonymous White House official claims President Trump cruelly limited Hispanic immigrants in their new book, "A Warning."

The book, to be released on November 19, gives an alleged insider account of the Trump White House and paints a picture of the president as a chaotic man who lacks the mental and moral acumen required for the job.

The anonymous staffer says that Trump once feigned a Hispanic accent and made fun of women attempting to immigrate to the U.S.

Keep Reading Show less
via KTVU / YouTube

The 63-year-old Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, currently branded the RingCentral Coliseum, is one of the most decrepit sports venues in America.

The home to the the NFL's Oakland Raiders (until they move to Las Vegas next season) and MLB's A's, is notoriously known as the Black Hole and has made headlines for its frequent flooding and sewage issues.

One of the stadium's few positive aspects is its connection to public transportation.

Keep Reading Show less
Hero Video
Yad Vashem

Since 1992, the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous has been holding reunion ceremonies between Holocaust survivors and rescuers once a year. But the tradition is coming to an end, as many have died or are too frail to travel. What might be the last reunion of its kind took place when a 92-year-old woman met up with the two surviving family members that she helped hide during the Holocaust, and their descendants.

Sarah Yanai and Yossi Mor introduced Melpomeni Dina (nee Gianopoulou) to their almost 40 family members, all decedents of the Mordechai family, the family of seven that Dina and her two sisters hid during WWII. "There are no words to describe this feeling," Dina told the Jeruselum Post. "It is very emotional for us to be together again."

Keep Reading Show less
via Facebook / Autumn Dayss

Facebook user and cosplayer Autumn Dayss has stirred up a bit of Halloween controversy with her last-minute costume, an anti-Vaxx mother.

An image she posted to the social network shows a smiling Dayss wearing a baby carrier featuring a small skeleton. "Going to a costume party tonight as Karen and her non-vaccinated child," the caption over the image reads.

Keep Reading Show less