COLUMBIA, S.C. (courtesy benedict.edu) — Benedict College and the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center will present the 2019 Presidential Justice Forum on October 26-27, 2019 on the Benedict campus. Hosts will include Columbia Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin and the National Black Police Association.
The event will feature the only bipartisan forum of presidential candidates exclusively focused on criminal justice reform as it affects the Black community. The forum will feature the first-ever “HBCU Straw Poll.” In the weeks leading up to and then after the Forum, all students and alumni of the eight HBCUs in South Carolina will vote online for the presidential candidate that best addresses their concerns on all issues facing African-Americans, not solely limited to criminal justice reform. There will be a ballot for Democratic Candidates, and a ballot for Republican candidates.
Allen University hosted the first Presidential Justice Center Forum in 2015.
“Our mission is to empower local leaders to implement innovative and practical solutions to problems in the criminal justice system. We have invited all presidential candidates from both parties to Benedict College because we want them to speak directly to our emerging leaders on campus, and those living in the surrounding communities that are disproportionately affected by injustices and unfairness in our country,” said Tishaura Jones, Democratic Co-Chair of the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center. “We believe that HBCUs such as Benedict are cultivating and growing the next generation of civil rights leaders, and this is the preeminent civil rights issue of our time.”
Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker have already announced as confirmed speakers for the forum. Additional announcements are expected in the weeks preceding the forum.
“It is is an honor to partner with the National Black Police Association, the African-American Mayors Association, the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, and all of the other co-hosts, and welcome back the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center,” said Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. “Criminal justice reform impacts the fabric of every community in America, and hosting this bipartisan engagement in Columbia sets the stage and tone for the upcoming primary.”
Tickets for the forum are available on Eventbrite. South Carolina college students are invited to attend for free – registration with a school email is required. The Forum will also be live streamed on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
About the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center
The 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center is a bipartisan group of over 80 African-American mayors, city/county/state officials, prosecutors and defense attorneys, political strategists, community leaders, activists, police chiefs and other law enforcement executives. The Center is the only nationwide coalition of black professionals with both Republican and Democratic members focused on criminal justice reform.