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Advancement Project National Office Responds to First 2020 Presidential Debate

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden faced off in the first of three presidential debates. On the topic of national protests resulting from the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others, Advancement Project National Office released the following statement.

“Conflating the movement for racial justice with violence is inaccurate—but more importantly, it reveals a complete failure to engage with the actual demands and actions of Black and Brown organizers and the communities they are uplifting,” said Judith Browne Dianis, executive director of Advancement Project National Office.

“The uprisings we’ve seen this year are a direct response to state violence against Black and Brown people—yes, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, but also the generations of Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people whose lives were taken or destroyed with no accountability by our criminal legal system and its agents, from police officers to ICE agents.

This discussion around protest and violence illustrates how white supremacy can permeate our language. Attempting to criminalize the actions of those demanding accountability for state violence while refusing to condemn the violence of racist policing systems that have claimed the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Daniel Prude and Rayshard Brooks is disgusting.

Protest is a fundamental right. It is one of the only methods of exerting political power that is still accessible to everyone—regardless of their race or their involvement with the justice system. But attempts to deny the legitimacy of Black and Brown political expression are as old as this country; there is no right way to demand change to the people who don’t want to hear us—whether it’s by sitting at a lunch counter, or kneeling at a football game, or rallying in the street. It’s time for journalists and politicians to stop fearmongering and start listening to what the people are rising up and demanding: justice.”


Advancement Project National Office is a next-generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, we exist to fulfill America’s promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy. We use innovative tools and strategies to strengthen social movements and achieve high impact policy change. Visit

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