WASHINGTON, District of Columbia — Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz today announced details of a special Democratic presidential debate that will focus on issues embraced by the #BlackLivesMatter movement and will broadcast on the Al Jazeera America cable network.
Appearing on Inside Story, a political analysis program on Al Jazeera America hosted by Ray Suarez, Ms. Wasserman Schultz said the two-hour debate will be held on December 28 and begin at 9:00 p.m. ET at Al Jazeera studios in the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz said she was dissatisfied that moderators on debates held so far on CNN and CBS did not focused on #BlackLivesMatter issues other than a “pandering, overused platitude.”
“Amazingly, they only asked the obviously rhetorical do black lives matter question and did not go beyond that. They let us down, so we worked quickly to organize this debate and made sure to involve important members of black liberation movements as moderators.”
#BlackLives Debate Moderators
- John Seigenthaler, news anchor, Al Jazeera America
- Joie Chen, host America Tonight, Al Jazeera America
- Alicia Garza, cofounder #BlackLivesMatter organization
- Deray McKesson, cofounder We The Protesters organization
She also said the DNC had specifically requested that Al Jazeera include Mr. McKesson to ensure “all protest topics from all protests over the last two years will be covered.”
#BlackLivesMatter Debate Topics
- How 2.8 million Black people are locked in cages in this country is state violence.
- How Black women bearing the burden of a relentless assault on our children and our families is state violence.
- How Black queer and trans folks bear a unique burden from a heteropatriarchal society that disposes of us like garbage and simultaneously fetishizes us and profits off of us, and that is state violence.
- How 500,000 Black people in the United States are undocumented immigrants and relegated to the shadows.
- How Black girls are used as negotiating chips during times of conflict and war.
- How Black folks living with disabilities and different abilities bear the burden of state-sponsored Darwinian experiments that attempt to squeeze us into boxes of normality defined by white supremacy, and that is state violence.
- How to and why it’s important to keep conservative, reactionary, misogynistic black Christian clergy out of modern black liberation movements, particularly Al Sharpton and his National Action Network.
Responding to a question from Mr. Suarez if “white lives mattered too,” Ms. Wasserman Schultz accused the host of “pandering to right-wing, racist Republican talking points.”
“We had hoped that CBS and CNN being news network would exercise better editorial judgement. Unfortunately, they decided to focus only on white lives matter issues, so this debate is desperately needed.”
The DNC chairwoman said the primetime #BlackLivesMatter debate is scheduled in that time slot to capture the largest audience possible.
“The Xmas holiday season is a time of leisure when families are home together and spend more time watching TV together, so we think this debate will exceed the TV audience of the first Fox News debate.”
The next democratic presidential debate will be hosted by ABC News on December 19, 2015, from Manchester, New Hampshire.
Al Jazeera America is also in negotiations with the Republican National Committee for a debate with the Republican presidential candidates.
Holleran N. Yellen II reports on dynamics of 2016 presidential election campaigns.