Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, met with Black Lives Matters activists on Tuesday following her campaign event focused on drug enforcement in New Hampshire. The protesters had planned to disrupt the event, but they were blocked by authorities.
The meeting was focused on the international war on drugs “and how she felt about her involvement in that violence that has been perpetuated, especially against communities of color and against black folks,” activist Daunasia Yancey told reporters after the meeting. “We wanted to know her reflections on her involvement as first lady, as senator, and as secretary of state.”
It is unclear which specific policies the group discussed with Clinton. However, former President Bill Clinton recently told the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People that the “tough-on-crime” policies he adopted during his time in the White House increased the problem of mass incarceration in the U.S. And Hillary Clinton earlier this year vowed to reduce America’s incarceration rates.
The group of five activists was initially denied entry to the event and pointed to an overflow room by Secret Service agents, who said the event was full, the Guardian reported. Clinton later decided to visit the overflow room without media present.
“I heard a reflection on failed policy,” Yancey said. “She did acknowledge that there have been policies that she has been part of promoting that have not worked.”
The group of five activists voiced satisfaction that Clinton “validated some of the points we offered” but were frustrated that “she didn’t offer many of her own,” activist Julius Jones said. “She was intentional about meeting us. She got something out of the meeting, that much is certain.”
The meeting between Clinton and Black Lives Matter comes after other activists identifying with the movement interrupted speeches by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, two rival Democratic candidates for president. In those protests, activists pushed Sanders and O’Malley to have clear and focused stances on civil rights and racial justice.
Given the high-profile interruptions at Sanders’ recent events in particular, the quiet, closed-door meeting with Clinton is seen by some as a forced change or failure for the activists.