Marissa Jenae Johnson gained notoriety this weekend when she and another Black Lives Matter protester shut down a Bernie Sanders campaign event, but new evidence shows that Johnson once held radically different views.
Johnson joined Mara Jacqeline Willaford this weekend in rushing the stage at a Seattle rally for Sanders. The two demanded a four-minute moment of silence for Michael Brown, the teen killed in Ferguson, Missouri last year, and also demanded time to address the crowd.
“My name is Marissa Janae Johnson, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Seattle,” Marissa said as the crowd began to boo loudly. “I was going to tell Bernie how racist this city is, filled with its progressives, but you already did it for me, thank you.”
“You are never going to hear Bernie speak if I don’t hear silence now,” said Johnson, adding later, “Now that you’ve covered yourself in your white supremacist liberalism, I will formally welcome Bernie Sanders to Seattle.”
An argument with the event’s coordinators ensued, and Sanders ultimately decided to call off the speech and instead met with members of the crowd. Both Johnson and Willaford were widely critized for the bullish tactic and for targeting Sanders, who has a strong record on civil rights and actually marched with Martin Luther King Jr.
Sanders himself noted his support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I think it is unfortunate because, among other things, I wanted to talk about the issues of black lives, the fact that the American people are tired of seeing unarmed African-Americans shot and killed,” Sanders told CNN after the event. “But there are other issues as well that we have to talk about, and that is the fact that the middle class of this country is disappearing and most importantly, we don’t bring change in this country… unless all people stand together. That is what we have to do.”
In the days after the event, a much different picture of Marissa Jenae Johnson has emerged.
As Patheos found, Johnson self-identifies as a “radical Christian” and found a curious political backing in the past.
“However, perhaps even more damning, on her Facebook page, Johnson admits that she was a Sarah Palin supporter. This fact, the fact that she once supported Sarah Palin, is in itself indicative of poor judgement and faulty character, and provides a larger context for her more recent moral failure.”
Despite the criticism, Marissa Jenae Johnson appears to have succeeded in bringing attention to her cause. Since the notorious protest this weekend, she has appeared on MSNBC and justified interrupting the event, saying it is not worth putting pressure on Republican candidates who make no attempt to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Instead, she said it is best to target people Bernie Sanders, making sure their actions match their rhetoric.
[Image via Facebook]