News & Politics

Cleveland Chapter of Black Lives Matter Opts Out of RNC Protests

Public domain image from Wikimedia commons, photograph by Tony Webster.

There may be thousands of people outside the RNC protesting their particular cause, but one of them won’t be the Cleveland branch of Black Lives Matter.

The chapter doesn’t believe its organizing power will best serve black Clevelanders by protesting Donald Trump, a man who has shown no real interest in ending racist policing—the signature goal of Black Lives Matter chapters nationwide.

Instead the group prefers to focus on the newly elected Cuyahoga County prosecutor, Michael O’Malley.

Another reason BLM Cleveland will stay clear of the convention is fear of arrest. Some people who would otherwise show up to support BLM Cleveland have warrants and other pending legal issues that could keep them jailed indefinitely if they were arrested.

But Belle said the chapter also realizes that, for black people in Cleveland, the person in charge of prosecuting abusive cops is more important than the person who ends up in the White House.

“Focusing on Michael O’Malley offers us the opportunity to hold somebody accountable on a very reasonable level,” Belle said. “It’s a lot easier for us to remind him of what he said he would do than it would be for us to remind Trump.”

Will this new strategy of engaging in the political process pay-off?