When activists from the Black Lives Matter movement arrived at a campaign rally for Hillary Rodham Clinton last month with plans to disrupt the event, they were blocked at the door by Secret Service agents and herded into an overflow room. No room, they were told.
A noisy spectacle was averted, but the news spread quickly on social media, and Clinton staffers had to scramble.
The Democratic presidential front-runner agreed to meet privately with the protesters, who wanted to challenge her on — among other racially charged issues — her past support for tough sentencing measures that they argued had resulted in unduly long periods of incarceration for black men.
“What in your heart has changed, that is going to change the direction of this country?” one activist wanted to know.
“There has to be a reckoning, I agree with that,” Clinton replied, according to a video of the closed-door encounter. She pointed to work she has done to improve the lives of minority children. “But I think there also has to be some positive vision and plan that you can move people toward,” she said.