WikiLeaks' release of thousands of leaked emails from Hillary Clinton's campaign this month has not yet produced the kind of bombshell revelation that some hoped would sink the Democratic nominee's presidential bid. But one email reveals the tension between the Clinton campaign and one of its biggest critics from the left, the Black Lives Matter social justice movement.
In an email from January, a Clinton campaign staffer, domestic policy adviser Sara Solow, weighed in on an interview the New Yorker Radio Hour conducted that month with Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza. In response to the interview, in which Garza criticized Clinton's demeanor in a meeting with Black Lives Matter activists, Solow had just one word: "yuck."
The email is one of over 2,000 the controversial journalist organization WikiLeaks published earlier this month that were sent or received by Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta over the course of the 2016 campaign. Solow's curt message was in reply to an email thread circulating around Clinton campaign staff with a transcript of Garza's interview. Garza accused Clinton of being condescending and dismissive of the Black Lives Matter activists she spoke with during an August 2015 meeting. Clinton had told those activists that while they were concerned with winning hearts and minds, she had to concentrate on actual policy.
"No change in this country has ever happened merely by changing laws and it was disappointing, quite frankly, to hear former Secretary Clinton use that language because certainly an accurate view of history shows us that we are always in a dialectical relationship between changing culture, or changing hearts, and changing policy and that if we don't do one the other one doesn't happen ... I also was really disappointed that she used, what I thought, was a fantastic opportunity to sit and really build with young black activists, who had come specifically to share their concerns with her — that she used that opportunity to almost shun them," Garza said. "I'm not going to vote for Hillary Clinton. That's where my stance is. And I'm not voting for any Republicans."
Solow's email underscores the rocky relationship Clinton has had with Black Lives Matter. Despite consistently outpolling Donald Trump among African-American voters by wide margins — at one point in the election, Trump was polling at zero percent — Clinton has faced continued pressure from activists in the movement to adopt more progressive stances on issues such as police brutality and mass incarceration. She has also faced criticism for her past support of President Bill Clinton's 1994 crime bill, which many experts argue accelerated mass incarceration, and her use of the term "super predators" at the time to describe black, male drug dealers.