In their first-ever grassroots lobbying day next week, some activists in the Black Lives Matter movement will oppose a bipartisan criminal justice reform compromise as advocates make a last-ditch effort to get a vote in the House, Politico reports. The Black Youth Project 100, a group associated with the coalition of Black Lives Matter entities, is teaming up with a more seasoned federal policy group, the National Black Justice Coalition, to bring in around three dozen activists to meet with members and aides.
Politico calls it “the latest step in maturation of a political movement born in the anguish of Ferguson and spread over Twitter.” After facing criticism that the movement was little more than hash tags and stage crashing with no formal agenda, a coalition of almost 30 groups released a 22-page policy platform in July. The groups are pushing for divestment from law enforcement and investment in education and social services to help poor and minority communities. Top asks include reparations for slavery and a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation. They plan to talk up measures that would block federal contractors from screening applicants for criminal history and to discourage charging money as pre-trial bail. They’re rejecting several bipartisan measures meant to reduce mass incarceration. While the measures would cut sentences for most drug offenses, they don’t do much for people already in prison under outdated rules, and they add new mandatory minimums for drug crimes involving guns and fentanyl, a painkiller linked to the deaths of Michael Jackson and Prince.