Movement for Black Lives plans virtual national convention

NEW YORK (AP) — Spurred by broad public support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, thousands of Black activists from across the United States (US) will hold a virtual convention in August to produce a new political agenda that seeks to build on the success of the protests that followed George Floyd’s death.

The 2020 Black National Convention will take place on August 28 via a live broadcast. It will feature conversations, performances and other events designed to develop a set of demands ahead of the November general election, according to a Wednesday announcement shared first with The Associated Press.

The convention is being organised by the Electoral Justice Project of the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of more than 150 organisations. In 2016, the coalition released its “Vision for Black Lives” platform, which called for public divestment from mass incarceration and for adoption of policies that can improve conditions in Black America.

“What this convention will do is create a Black liberation agenda that is not a duplication of the Vision for Black Lives, but really is rooted as a set of demands for progress,” said Jessica Byrd, who leads the Electoral Justice Project.

At the end of the convention, participants will ratify a revised platform that will serve as a set of demands for the first 100 days of a new presidential administration, Byrd said. Participants also will have access to model state and local legislation.

“What we have the opportunity to do now, as this 50-state rebellion has provided the conditions for change, is to say, ‘You need to take action right this minute,’” Byrd said. “We’re going to set the benchmarks for what we believe progress is and make those known locally and federally.”

Wednesday’s announcement comes at a pivotal moment for the BLM movement. A surge in public support, an influx in donations and congressional action to reform policing have drawn some backlash.

Demonstrators protest in front of a police line on a section of 16th Street that’s been renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza, in Washington. PHOTO: AP