Video: Local Black Lives Matter activist confronts Clinton at private event


Charlotte activist Ashley Williams disrupted a private event for Hillary Clinton donors last night, confronting Clinton about a comment made in 1996 during a discussion about a rise in crime rates, saying "we need to bring [at-risk youth] to heel."

Williams and another Charlotte activist who will remain unnamed paid $500 each to get into the fundraiser, held at the private residence of an attorney in Charleston. Williams said some in attendance had paid as much as $10,000 to get in.

Once there, Williams waited until Clinton began addressing the small crowd about her record on race relations and then stood in front of her with a banner depicting the infamous quote. Clinton addressed Williams, stating that she had never been asked about the quote before, while Williams told her, "I am not a super predator," referencing a Clinton quote from the same 1996 speech.

Williams was then escorted out of the building by Secret Service, which she said treated her respectfully and made a point of doing so, while donors in the house yelled for her to leave and cheered Clinton’s response.

Thanks to coverage from Huffington Post and an active response from Black Lives Matters supporters on Twitter and other social media, however, Williams got her message heard loud and clear.

“I’m happy with how the action went,” Williams said this morning over the phone from Charleston before heading back to Charlotte. “I’m happy that people are pressing Hillary on her record. She’s had 20 years to answer the questions I asked her last night.”

She was not impressed with Clinton’s reaction, stammering that she had never been confronted on this issue.

“I think that’s BS,” Williams said of Clinton’s response. “I’m not the first person to ask her. Black people and people affected by mass incarceration have been asking for a long time and it’s also interesting to see who hasn’t been asking. Media – not even left-wing media – nobody wants to go toe to toe with her. Last night was about making her go toe to toe with her own words and making her accountable to black people. I hope people will look into her record more closely and press her and all the other candidates on things that affect people of color; mostly mass incarceration.”

Williams, a recent graduate from UNC Charlotte, has been an active participant in the local Black Lives Matter movement. She figured heavily in Creative Loafing's reporting of the reaction to the mistrial of Randall Kerrick and participated in December protests on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus over the appointment of Margaret Spellings as UNC system president. 

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