Following a second interruption by Black Lives Matter activists at a rally and the hiring of activist Symone Sanders as his campaign press secretary, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), released a racial justice platform. Aimed at addressing the issues that most impact "black and brown Americans," the policy statement released on the anniversary of Michael Brown's killing begins: “We must pursue policies that transform this country into a nation that affirms the value of its people of color.” It then goes on to call the names of some of the people of color who were killed by police over the last year, and divide the problems facing blacks and Latinos into four broad categories of violence—physical, political, legal and economic.
Some of the highlights:
- Addressing physical violence. The campaign proposes demilitarizing police forces, increasing police diversity, establishing a federal model police-training program with #BLM input, tie federal justice grants to a state’s progress in retraining officers, and using federal resources to address hate group activity.
- Addressing political violence. Sanders’ plan calls for re-enfranchising ex-offenders, restoring the Voting Rights Act’s pre-clearance provision to avoid discriminatory voter ID laws, making election day a national holiday, instituting automatic voter registration for 18-year-olds, and making voting is easy and swift for all.
- Addressing legal violence. He proposes banning for-profit prisons, eliminating mandatory minimums, investing in drug courts and interventions that address people with substance abuse problems, and investing in education and job-training opportunities for offenders and ex-offenders.
- Addressing economic violence. On this point, Sanders’ policy calls for making public universities free, investing in a federally funded youth employment program, establishing pay equity for women, "banning the box" to help ex-offenders secure employment, and increasing access to affordable childcare.
Read the full policy plan here.