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They don’t hear us though: On black millennials and pandering

This presidential election cycle has had historic levels of fanfare and spectacle. From the Republican party’s head clown and biggest liability, Donald Trump, spewing hate speech on loop to the divisive attacks between the Democrats and Bernie Sanders. The candidates have been made memes, gifs and farce while their platforms have survived various levels of scrutiny. This dramatization of politics also reads deeply disheartening to the undeniably visible black resistances covering our nation (and the globe). The “Black Lives Matter” movement, as this iteration of black liberation has been coined, has disrupted the political climate to demand recognition for the daily and systemic violence of black folk in this country. For complicated reasons, the Democratic party has historically been a more visible supporter of Black people, though so many young activists are disappointed by the lack of meaningful engagement by the presidential candidates in this election. That is not to say the candidates haven’t been trying. Sen. Bernie Sanders managed to keep his promise to the Bland family by saying her name in a recent Democratic debate. Former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton has done a more haphazard attempt to engage young black voters: she’s commodified Rosa Parks in a Twitter icon and even Nae Nae’d on The Ellen Show. It seems that the Democratic candidates are keenly aware of how black millennial voters are necessary. In a recent New York Times piece titled “The Missing Black Millennials,”, Donovan X. Ramsey delineates how black millennials were pivotal to Obama’s election. He states: "The Democratic Party isn’t really at risk of losing these voters to the other party. But it can’t take them for granted." From their high turn-out in the last two elections to their increasingly visible organizing, black millennials are a critical base to engage. However, as Ramsey futher expands, even with the high turnout, many black millenials have been disillusioned by the potential President Obama’s election promises. Ramsey shares:
And while many of us participated in the election of the nation’s first black president, we’ve witnessed what feels like his inability to adequately serve black Americans in the face of continued economic challenges and systematic police brutality.”
This speaks to a compounded problem the Democratic party is facing; not only do these individual candidates have to appeal to these needed voices for their campaigns, they have to make the political system a possibility for justice.  As millennials find new ways to organize for rights and safeties and life, many are finding the current political system unavailable to them. From the Supreme Court to law enforcement, to Congress, to the President, black millennials are not seeing potentials of comfort. What could be most frustrating is the dismissal of activists, evident in both language about protests and responses from candidates. Although organizers has amplified black life to a national consciousness, only obscured by willful ignorance, their demands are not abstract. From the student activists who organize their requests and share them nationally to the various campaigns and actions organized daily, black millennials aren’t hiding, nor quiet, nor passive. If only the presidential candidates listened instead of pandered. If only the American political system could provide hope for black folks. If only folks heard us.  
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