It was formed in 2005 by Van Jones and James Rucker in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, ostensibly to “strengthen the political voice” of Black America. They felt that blacks received short shrift in the rescue effort then, and insinuated that racism was at play.
Its first high profile case was the defense of six black teenagers in Jena, Louisiana, who beat a white high school student.
They take controversial positions – rushing to the defense of African Americans accused of crimes when it appears relatively clear that their actions are pretty sketchy.
So when Tom Llamas, an ABC News anchor tweeted that he was witnessing people looting a supermarket during the height of Harvey’s devastation in Houston, not mentioning race at all, “Color of Change” responded angrily.
#Breaking We're witnessing looting right now at a large supermarket in the NE part of Houston & police have just discovered a body nearby
— Tom Llamas (@TomLlamasABC) August 29, 2017
“We’re witnessing looting right now at a large supermarket in the NE part of Houston & police have just discovered a body nearby,” Llamas wrote.
— ColorOfChange.org (@ColorOfChange) August 30, 2017
“Texans searching for food during the hurricane are not looters!” Color of Change wrote. “Tell @ABC and @TomLlamasABC to apologize now!”
They linked to a “pro-looting” petition asking people to side with the looters – essentially that sometimes, stealing is perfectly fine.
Here’s how the petition reads:
We are asking you and reporter, Tom Llamas to issue an apology. Instead of reporting on the desperate circumstances of Hurricane Harvey with compassion, he actually diverted first responder resources that could be used to save stranded families–and called the police on victims searching for food. In times of emergency and natural disaster, television news is often the only way that bystanders can ascertain what’s happening. News media has the sacred duty of framing tragedies in an honest, unbiased, and compassionate manner.
They don’t like this because law enforcement told the looters that anyone found committing this crime would be faced with “mandatory jail time.”
Because looting during a national emergency is wrong. Anyone with a shred of decency knows this.
Then things got racial. Because apparently, it’s ok if you’re black.
What the actual fuck are you doing @ABCNewsPR? This racist, classist, stupid bullshit will not fly in the age of social media. stop it.
— #MedicaidMatt (@mattbc) August 29, 2017
He says "looters" and you assume black people but HE'S the racist??? 😂😂😂😂
— Tam Paul Carlsen (@TamPaulCarlsen) August 31, 2017
We’re not sure what they expected Llamas to do. Did they expect him to not report that people were stealing things from a store during a national disaster? Report that they were “liberating commodities from the capitalist oppressors”? Simple sit quietly while some self-serving thugs stole things from a store?
We do know that their racial orientation means defending anyone they think is black at all costs, regardless of the crime.