Nikima Levy Armstrong:
In the years leading up to my run, progressives talked a good game about their desire for equity, diversity and inclusion. I watched as they marched in the streets with us during Black Lives Matter protests. They put #BlackLivesMatter signs up in their windows and on their lawns. Some of them helped to shut down streets and freeways; while others wrote op-eds and made passionately-written Facebook posts about the need to challenge injustice and end white supremacy. Their enthusiasm and exuberance in standing for justice seemed authentic, for a while.
However, all of that excitement and passionate commitment was put to the test when I decided to run for office on a racial justice platform, focused on ending racial disparities, closing the opportunity gaps in public education, and seizing power on behalf of communities of color that are too often marginalized and relegated to second class citizenship.
The lukewarm support that I received from some of the same progressives who had marched with me and shut shit down was like a splash of Minnesota ice cold water in my face, reminding me that things were not quite what they seemed. During my experience, I truly began to pay attention to the hypocrisy between the nice sounding words and actions of many progressives and their failure to fight for systemic changes to laws and policies and indifference to the plight of poor people of color.
When I put two and two together, it all made sense—people who are living comfortable lives and for whom the system was designed for their benefit will rarely, if ever, make any significant sacrifices that threaten their discomfort, sense of entitlement or political power.