"Black lives matter. Everyone in this country should stand firmly behind that. We need to acknowledge some hard truths about race and justice in this country, and one of those hard truths is that that racial inequality is not merely a symptom of economic inequality. Black people across America still experience racism every day. Since this campaign started, I've been talking about the work we must do to address the systemic inequities that persist in education, in economic opportunity, in our justice system. But we have to do more than talk - we have to take action. For example - we should make sure every police department in the US has body cameras. We should provide alternatives to incarceration for low-level offenders. We should invest in early childhood education for every child. We should fight for voting rights and universal voter registration. You will continue to hear me talking about these issues throughout this campaign and pushing for real solutions."
Source: Jen Hayden, "Hillary Clinton—'Black Lives Matter. Everyone in This Country Should Stand Firmly Behind That,'" dailykos.com, July 20, 2015
"Ah, I think so. The other day I made the statement that all lives matter, and someone in the audience came up to me afterwards and said 'ah you really don’t understand the issue' then he gave me his card… let me follow up with you and tell you why black lives matter. So, I have more to understand about it clearly."
Source: Phone Interview with ProCon.org, June 14, 2016
"We are inspired by, and are learning from, the words and deeds of the young activists leading the #BlackLivesMatter movement... When other presidential candidates are forced to speak about the oppression and exploitation confronting Black people in our society, you will notice they want to quickly pivot away from a discussion about race to a discussion about the economy. They are operating from within a blind spot created by white privilege. In stark contrast to the Presidential candidates offered up by the two corporately controlled parties, we are building a people powered campaign that aims to dismantle institutional racism and white supremacy.
Our campaign is not just about democratizing our economy, it is about dismantling the systems of hierarchy and oppression that limit the humanity of Black and other oppressed people."
Source: Jill Stein, "#BlackLivesMatter Rally at Ferguson Police Department; Jill Stein Among Featured Speakers," jill2016.com (accessed Apr. 21, 2016)
"Chuck Todd: And, again, I know we're going to get into a lot more issues with you in a couple weeks. But I want to ask you about Black Lives Matter. The latest shooting of a white police officer shooting an unarmed black man. Do you see this as a crisis in America?
Donald Trump: It's a massive crisis. It's a double crisis. What's happening and people. You know, I look at things. And I see it on television. And some horrible mistakes are made. At the same time, we have to give power back to the police because crime is rampant. And I'm a big person that believes in very big -- you know, we need police."
Source:Meet the Press, "Meet the Press Transcript – August 2, 2015," www.nbcnews.com, Aug. 2, 2015
(Candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria appear below in black and white and in alphabetical order.)
"We must pursue policies that transform this country into a nation that affirms the value of its people of color. That starts with addressing the four central types of violence waged against black and brown Americans: physical, political, legal and economic...
Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Samuel DuBose. We know their names. Each of them died unarmed at the hands of police officers or in police custody. The chants are growing louder. People are angry and they have a right to be angry. We should not fool ourselves into thinking that this violence only affects those whose names have appeared on TV or in the newspaper. African Americans are twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police...
Today in America, if you are black, you can be killed for getting a pack of Skittles during a basketball game. These hateful acts of violence amount to acts of terror. They are perpetrated by extremists who want to intimidate and terrorize black and brown people in this country...
Violence and brutality of any kind, particularly at the hands of the police sworn to protect and serve our communities, is unacceptable and must not be tolerated. We need a societal transformation to make it clear that black lives matter...
With input from a broad segment of the community including activists and leaders from organizations like Black Lives Matter we will reinvent how we police America."
"The 'BlackLivesMatter' movement is focused on the wrong targets, to the detriment of blacks who would like to see real change and to the benefit of its powerful white liberal funders using the attacks on Sanders for political purposes that mean nothing for the problems that face our community.
The notion that some lives might matter less than others is meant to enrage. That anger is distracting us from what matters most."
"[I]t seems to me journalists ought to ask those same Democrats, whether it's the Governor or whether it's Barack Obama, or whether it's Hillary Clinton, whether they believe the inflamed rhetoric of Black Lives Matter has contributed to the targeting and murder of police officers. And one of these seems to be clear. You want to talk about inflamed rhetoric, Black Lives Matter has been caught, their protesters on film, chanting pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon. Now that is hateful rhetoric, and I don’t see any reporters asking Hillary Clinton when she meets with Black Lives Matter whether she agrees with those sentiments that we should be murdering police officers."
Source: Hugh Hewitt, "Senator Ted Cruz on The Planned Parenthood Attacks, The Freedom Act, 2016, Illegal Immigration and More," hughhewitt.com, Nov. 30, 2015
"I understand how people have great passions. But I also understand that the way you begin to resolve them is, you do it by loving people and treating people with dignity and respect, and you don't do it by magnifying the problems -- you do it by really magnifying the solutions. When I hear people scream, 'black lives matter,' I think, 'Of course they do.' But all lives matter. It's not that any life matters more than another. That's the whole message that Dr. King tried to present, and I think he'd be appalled by the notion that we're elevating some lives above others."
Source: Eric Bradner, "Huckabee: MLK Would Be 'Appalled' by Black Lives Matter Movement," cnn.com, Aug. 18, 2015
"We're so uptight and so politically correct now that we apologize for saying lives matter?...
Life is precious. It's a gift from God. I mean, I frankly think it's one of the most important values that we have. I know in the political context it's a slogan, [black lives matter] I guess…
Should he [Martin O'Malley] have apologized, no? If he believes that white lives matter, which I hope he does, then he shouldn't apologize to a group [Black Lives Matter] that seems to disagree with it."
Source: Adam B. Lerner, "Bush: O'Malley Shouldn't Have Apologized for Saying 'All Lives Matter,'" politico.com, July 23, 2015
"[F]irst of all, of course all lives matter. Secondly, black lives have been diminished under Democratic policies. I mean, that's just true. African-American youth unemployment is UP under President Obama. Communities that are struggling with poverty have had more people fall into poverty."
Source: "Carly Fiorina: 'Black Lives Have Been Diminished under Democratic Policies'," insider.foxnews.com, Aug. 10, 2015
"I don't know about that issue [public officials apologizing for saying all lives matter]. And all lives do matter. Black lives matter, especially now, because there's a fear in these communities that, you know, justice isn't working for them…
But it's about balance. I'm not going to get myself caught in some sort of a wedge. The community has to understand the challenges of police, and the police have to understand the challenges of the community."
Source: Alex Griswold, "John Kasich: 'Black Lives Matter, Especially Now,'" www.mediaite.com, Aug. 13, 2014
"When I ran for mayor in 1999, Lester, it was not because our city was doing well. It was because we were burying over 300 young, poor black men every single year.
And that's why I ran, because, yes, black lives matter. And we did a number of things. We weren't able to make our city immune from setbacks as the Freddie Gray unrest and tragic death showed.
But we were able to save a lot of lives doing things that actually worked to improve police and community relations."
Source:Washington Post, "The 4th Democratic Debate Transcript, Annotated: Who Said What and What It Meant," washingtonpost.com, Jan. 17, 2016
[Editor’s Note: On July 18, 2015 during a speech at the Netroots Nation Conference, Governor O’Malley stated that "Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter." Later that day O’Malley apologized for the comment, stating: "I meant no disrespect. That was a mistake on my part and I meant no disrespect. I did not mean to be insensitive in any way or communicate that I did not understand the tremendous passion, commitment and feeling and depth of feeling that all of us should be attaching to this issue [police brutality and the killing of black Americans]."
Source: Chris Moody, "O'Malley Apologizes for Saying 'All Lives Matter' at Liberal Conference," cnn.com, July 19, 2015]
"I've introduced 10 pieces of legislation on criminal justice reform. In fact I ended up helping get passed a bill that allows for a report for any shooting deaths of police that they need to know race of individuals, so because of my leadership in Senate, we will get a report on what's going on. I've also introduced many criminal justice reforms to say that many of the minor drug crimes that we call felonies could be made misdemeanors or less, and that really putting people in jail for drug use is a waste of money and it ends up occupying space that violent criminals could take place…
Do I think it's a good idea for people to jump up and commandeer the microphone? No, and I wouldn't let them [Black Lives Matter] take my microphone. You know things cost money, and they need to learn that things cost money, and really all lives matter. Someone said that the other day, and then they had to apologize, and it's like 'Really? You're apologizing because you said all lives matter?' But I think there are some grievances, and I think the drug war has disproportionately affected black individuals, and I'd be willing to meet with them [Black Lives Matter] anytime; I'd be willing to sit and have a forum with them. I've been to 10 criminal justice forums that include many African Americans talking about all these same things, but we do it in a civil way. We don't get up there and grab someone's microphone and yell at them. And they're getting attention, but I don't know if they're making a good point."
Source: Natalie Brand, "Presidential Hopeful Rand Paul Sits down with King 5," king5.com, Aug. 24, 2015
"Irrespective of how some of you may feel about how people behave, they [Black Lives Matter] have a first amendment right to talk about this…
There is a legitimate issue here, and I have talked about it in the past…
It is a fact that in the African American community around this country, there has been for a number of years now a growing resentment towards the way law enforcement and the criminal justice system interacts with the community.
It is particularly endemic among young African American males, that in some communities in this country have a much higher chance of interacting with criminal justice than higher education…
We do need to face this, it is a serious problem in this country…
I don't know if this group [Black Lives Matter] has a detailed policy agenda, but it is a legitimate issue.”
Source:The Kelly File, "Sen. Marco Rubio Talks Black Lives Matter Movement," video.foxnews.com, Aug. 13, 2015