A Black Lives Matter chapter in Philadelphia has banned white people from attending an event, claiming it’s a “black only space.”
According to the “April Open Meeting” event page on Facebook, the gathering, scheduled for April 15, is aimed at discussing future initiatives and projects of the movement in which only black people are allowed to participate. “Please note that BLM Philly is a Black only space,” claims the event description.
Some people supporting the movement but who happen to not be black have requested an explanation from the group. “Is it just your meetings that are black only spaces? or are all activities this way? I want to support but don’t want to overstep,” tweeted Esther Greenwood.
“Our meetings are black centered,” replied official Black Lives Matter Philly account.
If you identify as a person of the African Diaspora You can attend our meetings and become a member. If not you can support us in other ways https://t.co/GTCkKVC7xV
— BLM Philly (@BLMPhilly) April 3, 2017
Popular activist on Twitter Sharika Soal, meanwhile, slammed the decision to exclude white people from the movement. She first tweeted: “All Hispanic and Whites who support #BlacklivesMatter @BLMPhilly says you are not welcome at meetings and you can’t attend,” and added that this is “messed up”.
“If you identify as a person of the African Diaspora You can attend our meetings and become a member. If not you can support us in other ways,” BLM Philly tweeted back, insisting on not allowing white people supporting the movement to participate.
Soal then posted a picture of Martin Luther King marching for civil rights together with other white leaders, saying: “Look very closely at this photo of MLK marching for black rights. As you can see white people are with him. So why is @BLMPhilly saying no?”
“He made that choice and we have made ours. White people can support us but they cannot attend our meetings,” BLM Philly shot back, later adding that “[Malcolm X] took our same stance. White people could not attend the meetings but could support his organization”.