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Amid a spate of confrontations initiated by Black Lives Matter protesters over the candidate’s supposed inattentiveness to the plight of black Americans, Bernie Sanders has recruited a black woman to serve as national press secretary in his campaign for the presidency.

Symone Sanders, a volunteer organizer with the D.C.-based Coalition for Juvenile Justice with no apparent familial relation to the candidate, was introduced to the country before a crowd of more than 12,000 at the Alaska Airlines Arena on the University of Washington campus in Seattle on Saturday. She spoke for 10 minutes before introducing the candidate at his second scheduled talk in the city that day. His first appearance was disrupted by members of the Black Lives Matter movement, who mounted the stage and prevented him from speaking.

BuzzFeed’s Evan McMorris-Santoro describes Symone Sanders as follows:

Symone Sanders is a young, black, criminal justice advocate and supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement. She’s also a progressive political activist right out of the Sanders mold: Her last job was at Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen. In an interview, Symone Sanders said she first connected with the senator about three weeks ago, offering him advice on how to better understand the message of Black Lives Matter activists in an hour-long chat.

“One of my suggestions, he took it and ran with it on Meet the Press, is that racial inequality and economic inequality are parallel issues,” she said. “I [told him,] you know, economic equality is an issue. It’s something we need to address. But for some people it doesn’t matter how much money you make, it doesn’t matter where you went to school, it doesn’t matter what your parents do. It doesn’t matter that Sandra Bland had a job and was on her way to teach for her alma mater. It doesn’t matter. None of that matters.”

McMorris-Santoro reports that Symone Sanders’ tasks will include helping with the design of a comprehensive criminal justice policy. Her introduction for the candidate Saturday “was heavy on the Black Lives Matter movement” and the names of blacks who died in recent police encounters. Regarding the movement, Symone Sanders told the crowd that Bernie Sanders “will turn those words into action,” prompting the crowd to cheer.

McMorris-Santoro continues:

Symone Sanders defended her candidate’s record, but was careful not to directly attack the tactics of the protesters in Seattle earlier in the day.

“Some people haven’t heard [Sanders’ new message] yet, they haven’t heard it, they haven’t received it yet. But I think they will hear it,” she said. “But you have to understand that this is a very emotional weekend for people. Tomorrow is the anniversary when Darren Wilson shot and killed Mike Brown… so people are feeling that.”

As for the Seattle protest, Symone Sanders said, “Do I think everyone in the movement agrees with the way the protesters commanded the stage today? No. Am I going to condemn the protesters for standing up and expressing themselves? No. Because their voices matter.”

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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